From Courage to Communication to Collaboration – BIM at Burning Man

30 January 2020All, BIMBIM process, Collaboration, communication



“Clarity is our greatest power.” Thus declares Sharon DeMattia, Nevada artist and more recently BIM collaborator. DeMattia participated in the 2019 Burning Man Festival with an art installation titled “We. The People.,” made possible by a Revit model. There were 408 immersive, interactive art creations at Burning Man that year, but quite possibly only one designed using building information modeling and Revit.

DeMattia had a vision for We. The People., but she needed some way to illuminate that vision and create a visual representation – she needed clarity. Enter Mark Oden, CEO of BIM Designs Incorporated. Along with the business values of trust and relationships, the BIM Designs company culture encourages community engagement, and that’s where the creative collaboration with DeMattia was born. Two of the company’s BIM designers, Brian Burlbaugh and Ty Christensen, volunteered to take all the “moving parts” of DeMattia’s vision and help create a Revit model of it, including lighting, shading and the way everything would get built. In addition, DeMattia was able to use the model for fundraising purposes.

Oden explained that the construction industry has many traditions, and through its work, BIM Designs Inc. strives to honor those traditions as well as its architects, engineers and subcontractors. At the same time, the company integrates technology like BIM into those traditions. “It can truly change the game,” Oden said, adding, “That’s where Applied Software really resonates as well.”

Applied Software caught up with DeMattia and Oden for a recent Podcast to talk about BIM, Burning Man and collaboration. Both agreed that collaboration depends upon trust, and it takes courage to trust within a business environment. “Competition is not bad,” DeMattia said, “but collaboration allows people to engage, to contribute to something bigger than themselves . . . Then the business can grow.” She suggested true collaboration in business can allow people to hold less tightly to their individual vision and end up with a better end product by working toward a common goal. “If everyone on your team is clear on your vision, then you can enter collaboration with trust. Clarity and efficiency translate directly to profitability and health of the organization,” DeMattia said. “Put something into the world that you’re proud of.”

image 11
Photos courtesy of Sharon DeMattia

The We. The People. project – holding the design of DeMattia’s description of time – consisted of a 250-foot transparent glowing circle made from 56 acrylic panels of half-inch thickness. Designed to look like it was floating, the circle contained a couple dozen life-sized humanoid foam-core canvasses painted and treated with gesso so festival attendees could draw on them with markers. A padded platform in the center of the installation allowed attendees to sit and contemplate. Visit DeMattia’s Facebook page for photos from Burning Man: DeMattia acknowledged that BIM software helped bring the art to Burning Man, and she’s grateful for that. “It’s all art,” she said. “The BIM Designs team showed up.”

Oden participated with other volunteers in constructing We. The People. and plans to show up at a couple stops along DeMattia’s nationwide 2020 tour beginning in March in Reno and following a circuitous 7,000-mile route to Washington, DC. This will be followed by a global tour beginning in October. The humanoids will be on tour, DeMattia clarified, “I’m just driving the bus.”

Want to learn more about how BIM can help you on creative projects? Contact Applied Software today and request a discovery call with a BIM expert.



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