Stuff We've Made

MJ and Colin make art.  Sometimes the art is interactive, playful, large, or even useful.  

Selections below are in roughly chronological order, most recent first.

Aluminum Dodecahedron Loudspeaker

This custom aluminum dodecahedron loudspeaker has eleven drivers pointed in different directions. This gives unusually even coverage, and increases the reverberation in a way that gives you a better sense of the space you are in. The cutouts are a Voronoi tessellation, CNC plasma cut.

Great Stellated Dodecahedron

This great stellated dodecahedron was built as a 1:4 scale model for our upcoming project MOOT.  It is made of 90  individual tubes, each coped to an exact shape allowing the structure to be welded together.

The Kiosk

The main structure is a totally standard looking informational kiosk that you might see at the trailhead for a hike. It is accompanied by a national park sign in the classic style that, surprisingly, says “Youtopia National Forest”. That prompts you to take a closer look at the kiosk, and gradually you realize the information there is distorted, incomplete, and unbelievable. Some of the posters satirize burner culture or build on typical trailhead information, but other parts are almost threatening, hinting at a darker story…

Read more, and see all the posters here.

Temple of Floating Compression

The Temple of Floating Compression is a large scale tensegrity structure.

You can find out more about it here: 

Floating Compression

This sign is made from two plasma cut pieces of steel held apart by by a dozen steel cables so that the top one appears to float. 


Neon (LED) sign that says "shhh" complete with real decibel meter!  Battery powered, since people love being shushed.

Tensegrity Icosahedron

This was a piece we designed and built originally for Burning Man 2022.  You can see more pictures and read more about it here: 

Lake Hodges Table

We love Lake Hodges.  It is a very oddly shaped lake.  Hard to picture while you are in the lake kayaking around even.  So we figured, why not make a table to show off its beautiful form.


If you ask the generative art AI GPT3 to make a sign that says "Live, Laugh, Love" it kinda doesn't understand what you want, and invents new letters and words.

We liked the pixels it made so much, we decided to make it physical.  The photo on the left is actual wood from the CNC router, based on the AI drawing.


What happens if you let AI control a CNC plasma cutter?  It makes "art".  Read more here.

Rubens Tube

Fire that reacts to music!

Talk to Hodgee

This project pays homage to our beloved local lake monster Hodgee
Press the intercom button to talk to Hodgee. Tell them your secrets, ask for advice, or just say hi!  Then press the "listen" button to see if they answer!  You will hear sounds from under the waters of Lake Hodges, but Hodgee is a shy monster.  We can't guarantee  that they will reply. 

You may see Hodgee dressed to mark different times of the year, so check back often.  Also- don't forget to support your local Water Monsters Union! 

Youtopia Temple

The 2016 temple for the San Diego regional Burning Man was designed by Martin Iwanowicz.  Colin and MJ were core contributors on this three story plywood structure that fits together with no metal fasteners.


The quadcycle was our first major welding project.  It was an idea MJ had had in their head for several years.  Though they did not know how to ride a bike or how to weld, they had a vision! In spring of 2017 Colin bought a welder and the time was right.  Some day I might make a fuller page with more details and pictures of the process, as this was also one of the first times we did ok documenting.  

Dada Scientists

The Dada Scientists is an umbrella name for a collection of projects that have included many other collaborators beyond MJ and Colin.  The projects undertaken by Dada Scientists include the YOUtopia Census, Cheap Beer tastings, Click this One / Don't Click this One, projects like the Weather Station at YOUtopia, Censuses at other events, ... and surely lots of others I am currently forgetting.   Look out for the lab coats in unexpected places.  

Read all about it here: 


During the pandemic we built out a cargo trailer for camping.  Everything in the trailer, except the small shelf and the open fronted bench, folds up.  This means the trailer is still wide open useful space for hauling all our gear and large art projects as well.  It is extremely versatile and very comfortable and homey!  We even decorated it and put up some art.

The first step was to take the chip board walls and floor down to seal the floor and to add insulation and wiring for electrical.  Then we put it all back and painted, added flooring and ceiling panels, lighting, built the furniture in, added windows and a fan, changed out the door handle, and decorated. 

Garden Trellises

Garden Trellises are shockingly expensive! They are also often not very attractive.

This project gave us an opportunity to learn to use a bender on light-weight easy to manipulate material as well!  It was really fun to play with.
(though given the time we spent and the cost of steel... I suppose I can understand trellis pricing...)

Doorbell upgrade

We took the ordinary Ring doorbell our house came with and made it better!
Read about how here:

Surveillance Capitalism Sucks!

Steel Signs

The CNC plasma cutter is a great toy.

Optical Lusions

What you see is what you get. 


This project was pretty much what the component parts of its name sounds like.  It was a cacophony.  Participants were invited to make all sorts of noise beating on a large piece of sheet metal with a contact mic on it, playing with a bucket of water with a hydrophone in it, a tube, a theremin, all sorts of bizarre noises.  This is how we go camping! 


100% designed and built by amateurs, this cabin still stands (and is cozy) a dozen years later. This project ignited our love of making-as-community-building, and also taught us a ton about the challenges of remote, off-grid construction.

Birthday Fort

MJ's 35's birthday, they made a cardboard fort (at a joint birthday party with a friend.  It got pretty big.  

MOOT (Matter Out Of Time)

Many collaborators worked on this project, which has appeared at: YOUtopia (twice), Black Rock City, and Trick or Treat on Maryland Street.
The allows participants to enter the time machine and operate the theremin-drive controls to fly backwards and forwards through time! 

Kelp Forest

The kelp forest was a space to chill in.  There was comfy "grass" to lay on, and pleasantly colored kelp that would sway and drift above you to watch wave in the breeze.  In the evening gentle lights in cool tones would glow; just to sit and be social, not to bright.  During the day there was shade over head to provide some coolness and to block the brightness of the midday sun.  No smoking in the kelp forest please.

Take a Poncho

Take a Poncho / Leave a Poncho included a "make your own poncho" kit (a pair of scissors), and a strict rule of "no capes!"

Couch Swing

The couch swing is a simple piece that has lived many lives!  A simple frame and chains holds a small couch.  The frame was originally unpainted, and has been at least 3 different colors since then.  And it is currently holding its second couch.  We have entirely lost track of how many times it has been built and of all the places it has been.  We do love hearing about all the wonderful, poignant, and memorable times so many people have had on the couch swing! 

The Electric Poncho

So there used to be this event called "Electric Poncho".  Colin decided that the name needed to be made real, so hooked an electric fence up to a poncho and put warning signs on it.  People saw the "Do Not Touch" and "Electric Shock Risk" signs, decided to touch it anyway, and then were surprised when it shocked them good!

Cozy Danger

Cozy Danger had a name before it had a design.  The top level is 60 square feet of cozy foam, with no railing and only treacherous ways up.  Below is a twin sized bed swing that barely survived having eleven people on it.

Normal House Mural

We invited the public to paint on our previous house, and the results really helped slow down the gentrification of that block a few years. More.

Supported by the San Diego Collaborative Arts Project (SDCAP) and Art Around Adams.

Lots of little things!

Sometimes I just make things for specific events, or for presents for people.  This is one of my favorite ways to make stuff.  But it is so multimedia and wide-ranging and specific and it hard to describe!  I am trying to be better at documenting it.