Sol Diego

Burning Man Art Collective

Sol Diego Board Meeting 2015-04-21 7:00pm

Minutes by Paul Williamson

Cast, in order of appearance: Paul, Brandie, Jasmine, Nicole, David, Andrew

Heffernan Insurance Bill

Brandie reported that Heffernan is allowing us to make three payments of $250, but requiring us to submit each payment as a money order. She had obtained the first money order (for a nominal fee from the Post Office), mostly from funds on hand, and handed it to Jasmine for overnight shipping to Heffernan.

Software-based Midway Games

Andrew showed a prototype Pong-like game (with extra bonus snark) that gets faster and harder to play very quickly. He showed a three-minute demo and everybody thought it was fun.

Andrew also described an idea for a two-player game in which the players pick up mushrooms, but the game's control scheme changes each time they pick one up.

Facebook URL Issue, Etc.

On the subject of Nicole's request that Sol Diego stop using the Facebook URL "SDRegionalArt" and hand over control of the page to the Regional Coordinators designated by the Burning Man organization, Brandie told Nicole in the friendliest possible terms that we were puzzled by the style of the initial communication and had no wish to be at odds with her. Nicole acknowledged that the style critique was "fair enough", and stated that she had concerns, which she had discussed with Fin and Bob, that the URL creates an impression that's not inclusive. Brandie recapped the history: Bob urged Sol Diego to switch the URL from its previous Souk-specific name to a generic name that could be used from year to year by the regional art project, and that this was implemented in a hurry and without full consensus. David pointed out that there are many possible permutations of such generic names, and that by strong Internet convention the first registrant owns the name. He stated that asking Sol Diego to change its URL goes against this Internet rule.

Nicole stated that it felt like Sol Diego was trying to be all-encompassing of San Diego regional art projects. In her view, the term "regional" is special in the Burning Man community, referring not just to geography but also to the coordinator hierarchy recognized by Burning Man. Regional Coordinators have to approve "regional" projects up front, though this was only announced on the Souk mailing list before it was converted to be the Midway mailing list, and the call for Midway proposals was confusing on this point.

Nicole stated that both San Diego projects (Wonderlust Arcade and Dr. Hyas Balze Boardwalk Soul Exchange) have already been fully signed-off by Burning Man and the Regional Coordinators. The recent detailed proposal will be reviewed by BMArt but the approvals are already in place.

Nicole stated that she doesn't want the Facebook page, she only wants Sol Diego to stop using the URL that she sees as asserting a claim to be the only regional art project. Jasmine stated that, which Facebook appears to offer the possibility of changing the URL, it isn't clear that they will actually permit a change or what the side effects might be. We have already changed the URL recently, with the apparent side effect that all the older existing content is no longer visible. Andrew asked if it would satisfy Nicole's concerns if we liked to the other project(s) on the page. Brandie stated that we already did.

At some point in this discussion Nicole said that it seems like Facebook was making a change impossible, so she didn't care about changing the URL anymore.

Returning to the question of style, David stated that copying the original email so widely made it seem confrontational. Nicole stated that she was just trying to be transparent, and that members of the other project had nothing to do with her sending the original email. There were several more exchanges along these lines, which I will not record here.

Nicole stated that progress has been made to improve, starting with a list of San Diego-based theme camps. The fuegodiego web site was originally supposed to be a kind of regional headquarters but never really fulfilled that mission. Jasmine stated that one reason we picked SDRegionalArt in the first place was so the URL could be handed off, year by year, to whatever team was doing the regional project (assumed at the time to be singular).

David stated that the idea attributed to Clovis (?) that RC's must approve projects imposes undue restrictions on the artists. Nicole stated that Clovis (?) had no intent to require approvals for projects like the Shake & Quake House that were not part of a CORE-like program driven specifically by Regionals.

David asked what other demands we might face based on "fairness" or an attempt to create "a level playing field" between our experienced team and other teams. He stated that a truly level playing field would not be possible. Nicole answered with an idea for something along the lines of a Leadership Conference for just San Diego or just the Southwest, which might spawn some sort of mentorship relationship between more experienced art teams and less experienced teams. David pointed out that we're already taking steps in that direction with the upcoming DIY Workshops. Nicole mentioned the need for procedural knowledge, such as how to file paperwork for a Youtopia art grant, and compared this to the way the group that became Sol Diego was bootstrapped by the Quemaduras del Sol project. Brandie stated that she had put down a deposit at Queen Bee's, the venue for the DIY Workshops, and that we were given a fantastic deal: the whole place for five hours, including tables, for $150. She stated that the purpose of the DIY Workshops goes beyond fundraising, and that the DIY Workshops were the start of a Sol Diego education program. Brandie also stated that Queen Bee's was eager to collaborate with artists, and that there may be a match between our skills and their needs, possibly leading to a skills trade for future events.

David again posed the question of what other "level playing field" issues Nicole could foresee. Nicole stated that there's no way to handle all the issues up front, once and for all, and that she saw antipathy on both sides. David stated that his only problem is when they threaten to prevent us from doing our art projects. David stated that we don't want to deal with any future conflicts. Brandie stated that conflicts are especially harmful when other people (for example, the New School students) are exposed to them.

David asked that Nicole raise any future issues in private, without CCing everybody. Nicole agreed.

David asked Nicole if any issues about the URL or about San Diego regional politics were brought to Nicole's attention at the GLC. Nicole stated that she became concerned about the URL before the GLC, and only discussed it with Bob during a smoke break at the GLC. No Burning Man org officials were involved. Burning Man does monitor San Diego Burners on Facebook, so they are aware of contentious issues like Youtopia shuttles. David asked if Burning Man org was concerned about there being two similar projects from San Diego. Nicole stated that Bettie June was jazzed about it, and Bee was surprised but thought it was cool. If Burning Man org had concerns, Steven Raspa would have approached her at GLC, and he did not. David stated that there were rumors circulating that the org is worried about a rift in San Diego. Nicole said that was not the case, to the best of her knowledge. Brandie stated that when she saw the original email raising the URL issue, it seemed to her as if Nicole had been approached by the org to solve a perceived problem. David then stated that this helps explain the urgent and piecemeal responses sent by individual Sol Diego board members. Nicole again denied that anyone from the Burning Man org had expressed any concerns to her.

David suggested that, if the Regional Contacts did create their own page that covered past art projects, it should simply link to existing sites created and controlled by the project artists, rather than present photos and such on its own. Nicole agreed that, "of course," that's what they would do.

Facebook Page Title

Nicole raised the question of the page title on Facebook. Brandie said that it was still being discussed. Nicole granted that the problem was wordsmithy. Jasmine and Nicole shared what they knew about Facebook rules on page title changes. Facebook's rules are inscrutable but may be getting more flexible. Dave mentioned that there would be some similarity between our page title and that of SDCAP. Nicole said she didn't think that would be a problem. Two choices mentioned were "Sol Diego Art Collaborative" and "Sol Diego: An Art Collaborative". Brandie mentioned that "arts" usually implies more than just visual art, including theater and performing arts. Brandie didn't like the colon construction, but Paul did. Everybody could agree on "Sol Diego: An Art Collaborative" with the caveat that we want to get consensus from the absent board members before it's considered approved.

Additional Social Media

Nicole mentioned an online tool called Hootsuite that makes it easy to automatically cross-post the same announcement on many social media. Paul stated his opinion that it's better to customize the announcement for each social medium rather than automatically cross posting, and that we didn't need to be on every single social medium. In particular, he thinks that Twitter is a waste of time for Sol Diego, in that everybody who follows us there is very likely to follow us elsewhere. Nicole stated that she's aware of a few people who were recruited via friends on Twitter.

Lucidity: Isis Pyramid 2.0, and Benches

David gave a brief report on the installation of the Isis Pyramid at the Lucidity festival. It was upgraded with more than twice as many lights, and the festival covered most of the costs. Participants loved it. Sacred Spaces expressed some interest in a future collaboration.

David reported that he delivered three plywood benches of his own design to the Lucidity team, who repainted them to use in the temple (that is, the Isis Pyramid). A fourth bench, unpainted, was found at Art Temple. This turned out to be the original prototype David built with his father, which went missing at Youtopia. They admitted taking it from Youtopia. David reclaimed the bench and brought it home. The plan is (still) to publish the design specs and ask for a donation via Paypal. Nicole mentioned that Youtopia this year will have several hubs for safety and information, and that benches would be welcome at the hubs.

Jasmine asked if the Pyramid would ever go to Burning Man. David said no, it was not designed to take that much wind. Nicole asked if the Pyramid might ever become a permanent installation somewhere. David said no, he could not accept the liability. For one thing, the structure is too climbable.

DIY Workshops

Jasmine mentioned a need for online registration for the upcoming DIY Workshops. A service called looks good. They offer several plans, including a month-to-month payment option of $15/month, with no percentage taken from the registration fees. The board approved $15/month for an evaluation period to include the DIY Workshops.

Brandie stated that we still need more teachers for DIY Workshops. She asked Paul, but he has a concert to play that day. David said he would reach out to Kara (?) who makes hoods and other burnery clothing.

Jasmine mentioned a tentative date for the Burner Bazaar on a Friday near the end of June. David asked if a vendor that gives a DIY Workshop class could be guaranteed a spot at the Burner Bazaar, but nobody gave an answer.

Sol Diego Accounting

Jasmine stated that she'd like to get some free accounting software and attach it to the Sol Diego bank account. One purpose would be to keep track of our funds and liabilities so we can avoid a repeat of the Heffernan insurance payment issue. Brandie mentioned an online service called Wave that she uses. Paul stated that we should not pick a software solution before we picked a person to handle finances, since the person would need to choose the software they preferred. Jasmine said she was willing to take over the finances. Brandie reminded us that Trish had been asked before, and needed to be asked again before the job was assigned to anybody else. Jasmine said she'd be happy either way. Brandie suggested that it would be a good idea to have two people working on it anyway, and Paul agreed. Brandie agreed to contact Trish about it.

Quake and Shake House

Brandie said that Mark is setting up a meeting with the New School of Architecture students, who are mostly the same ones as last year. Ramiro, Sam, Subrato, and Daniel. Nicole recommended an online service called Doodle for coordinating meetings easily.

Midway Design Meeting

Brandie said that a design meeting for the Midway project has been tentatively scheduled for May 3, at Colab after the Safety town hall meeting for Youtopia. David said he'd like the New School students to develop a 3D digital model of the proposed layout as a starting point for discussion.


Nicole said that Figment is inviting both Midway projects to bring whatever components they have ready for show at Figment, which is June 27. She said that Art Around Adams has also offered Figment an interactive art space, possibly large, on June 14. David stated that we might be able to fast-track development of some of the games and have them ready to show.

Black Rock French Quarter Collaboration

Paul read the paragraph from Abraxas's email proposing that the board agree in principle to cooperate with the Black Rock French Quarter. The vote was a resounding and unanimous yes.

Abraxas Email

Paul stated that the other topics in Abraxas's email were also important and required reading for all board members.


Paul mentioned that the laser is costing somewhat more to maintain than anticipated, due to the need to replace the lens and mirrors occasionally. Paul is still absorbing these costs.

Paul reported that an architecture student from Woodbury University in Burbank had contacted him asking to rent time on the laser. This is not something we usually do, but Paul will try to work something out with him.

Paul raised a concern that Colaser scheduling has seemed unusually slow and less reliable of late. Nicole said there had been a problem with the Wordpress plug-in for Google Calendar, and that might explain it. Jasmine said that Danksa is the one handling all Colab scheduling now. Paul will contact Danksa about it.

At about 10:15pm the board called it quits for the evening.