Educational print for Violet, a new New Yorker, via Kickstarter, of course.
Rewards in the wild. Submit here and we’ll reblog!
Educational print for Violet, a new New Yorker, via Kickstarter, of course.
Rewards in the wild. Submit here and we’ll reblog!
After successfully raising upwards of $25,000 from its community, Brooklyn-based arts-and-event space The Invisible Dog hosted a Kickstarter rewards pick-up party and invited backers to come, hang, and walk away with their official tokens of support.
Attention DIY science fans, amateur astronomers, and enthusiastic star gazers! If you’re in upstate New York tonight, take a stroll by Richards Park in Geneva between 8-9:30pm for the first ever Bicycle Astronomy Star Party. Attendees will be invited to gaze at the night sky through a bicycle propelled telescope, then share their experience online, alongside photos and video from the event. More details at the latest project update.
Update #5: We’ve come so far! Just a few months after reaching their funding goal, The Brownsville Student Farm is underway. So far, their tiny volunteer team has planted an impressive variety of veggies like squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant, and they report that the little guys are thriving. That’s a good thing, because it means they’ll be plenty to go around when they kick off their farm stand next month:
There will be a student run farmstand over the summer, beginning the second week of July, every Thursday from 2 - 5 pm. The 5th, 6th, and 7th graders from PS/IS 323 will operate this market. There will also be a community market on our farm site run by a nearby health organization, BMS, on Saturdays.We can’t wait! You can read more about their progress at their project blog.
The Shandaken Project is a community-supported residency program on 250 acres of land in upstate New York. They provide free room and board to anybody with a creative practice — writers, artists, curators, and more — to hang out, get to know each other, and make cool stuff. Writer’s block? Residents can also spend time in the communal vegetable garden, growing things like cabbage, kale, leeks, and potatoes. The organization is excited to expand on their project with private studios and new equipment, but attendees are certainly not the only ones who stand to benefit! Backers get curated mixtapes, invitations to a summer BBQ, and pieces of original art. And did we mention? It’s our Project of the Day.
Did the Kickstarter campaign bring a lot of attention to this project?
Aaron: Yeah, it definitely did bring us a lot of attention. I think we had a good story, and I think a lot of people latched onto that because we weren’t jaded people — we were really just trying to do something and we were just coming up short. It got us a lot of attention, and it built a connection with the community, and you can’t really put a monetary value on something like that. And it got us in the eye of the neighborhood and the people around here, and we’ve made some lasting friendships and connections out of that.
—NY Eater chats with Aaron and Andy of the Littleneck Clam Shack project. (You can still check out their project here.) SSoooooo, who wants to be our date to this place tonight?
The Poetry Project’s effort to make the entire archive of Public Access Poetry actually accessible to the public is now on Kickstarter
The internet loves to save things. It makes us feel magnanimous and huge.
Last fall, my sisters and I ran a Kickstarter project for a book called Canine Chronicles. We were looking to create something we could all collaborate on, and a book project featuring my younger sister Winnie’s photography seemed like the best idea. We set up a project and promised to have a book ready to print by Spring 2011.
That deadline has now come and gone, and we’ve had to push our release date back to Fall 2011. So far, our backers have been wondrously patient with us as we go through this process with them. This is due in no small part to Winnie, who has been putting together these great “here’s where we are now” progress reports and updating our backers every few weeks. Her latest is a video which takes you behind the scenes on one of our photo shoots.
As many of you who’ve worked on projects already know, the path to completion is never exactly how you planned it would be. When we brainstormed our book idea, we just thought it would be fun to dress dogs up as historical figures. What we didn’t think about at the time was that because some of these famous people are still living, we would need to do a lot of research about fair use, copyright, trademark, and the legal definitions of satire and parody.
Then there were the photo shoots themselves. Casting all of the dogs, finding the right costumes and props, coordinating and finishing the shoots ended up taking much more time than we’d first anticipated. Shirts we ordered on the internet that looked perfectly dog-sized showed up in the mail and ended up being very much not dog-sized. Our Charlie Chaplin pug looked great on camera but was too tiny to wear the bowler hat we’d bought for him (it covered his whole head!). The flight jacket we ordered for the yellow lab playing Amelia Earhart wouldn’t fit over his legs. Our Lucille ball dog looked mid-sized in the images her owners sent, but ended up being much smaller in real life. So we improvised.
Now, the photo shoots are done and it’s up to me to write the stories that will take these ten images of dogs in costume and turn them into a coherent fictional history. It’s fun and daunting and stressful all at the same time. My older sister is waiting on me to finish the stories so she can begin the process of laying out and designing the final book. My mom calls me every weekend to ask how the stories are coming along. I want to do justice to the images my sister worked so hard on, and I want our backers to feel like they made the right decision in choosing to support our project. No pressure, right?
While many Kickstarter projects finish everything right on time, delays in the timeline are a reality of the creative process. It’s why project updates and maintaining open lines of communication — both during and after the project — are so important. Kickstarter backers are amazing people, genuinely interested in helping you reach the finish line. When you share with them your creative process, you also communicate that you’re aware that they’re there, and that without them, there is no project.
And for those of you wondering, I’ll be finished writing all the stories by the end of this month.
Museum of Non Visible Art — by Brainard and Delia Carey
The Museum of Non-Visible Art, a conceptual art project conceived by New York-based free-spirits/thinkers Brainard and Delia Carey, is “an extravaganza of imagination.” For those of us that grew up adoring fantasy and science-fiction novels (cough), that just might mean it has the potential to be a total dream. As its name implies, The Museum for Non-Visible Art is not filled with things, but with ideas; concepts and descriptions of art projects rather than wholly tangible items. It’s a world that is not necessarily visible, but is nonetheless real, opening a conversation about what we make when we use words and images, and the ways in which those words and images can be the architecture of our own realities.
As you may imagine, I was curious to know more about why Brainard and Delia decided to create a museum full of “invisible things.” Thankfully, they were eager to discuss. Check out our conversation, below, and check out their project for more.
I’ll be honest! The nature of this project is a bit unusual for Kickstarter, where emphasis is so much on the tangible. How did you come to Kickstarter and what was the process of shaping your project to fit our platform?
We chose to use Kickstarter for several reasons. For one, we are New Yorkers, and Kickstarter feels to us like a New York art-savvy enterprise. Without being corny, it is a way we were seeing more and more artists explain what they were doing in a clear and compelling way.
We have known about Kickstarter for quite awhile. In fact, we have backed many projects ourselves over the past year and became very familiar with the platform. What struck us most about Kickstarter was the relationship between the proposal and rewards. It seemed clear that when the rewards were really interesting, the project was more successful. But the quirky nature of the rewards could also have problems. When we backed the Vivian Maier project on Kickstarter, the reward we chose was one of her empty film spools, which was an odd reward, but it also was like a relic of some kind, and we liked that. However we noticed that there was a problem with that reward that some of the updates mentioned, saying people thought they were getting a whole roll of unexposed film! As crazy as that sounds, we also realized there is this effect of reading things very fast on the web, even Kickstarter, and readers are scanning text, and often misunderstanding the intent of the artist or writer. We were mindful of that while putting together our presentation because we wanted to avoid any misunderstandings.
Our history as artists began when we were giving out free hugs from our East Village storefront in 2000, launching the free hugs movement and setting the stage for some major shows, like the Whitney Biennial in 2002, where the idea of what we were doing was both understandable and also confusing to people.
We felt that the community of Kickstarter would get this idea and enjoy it, because other projects, especially in the arts, contained concepts that were unusual. Also, there was an additional issue about the fact that we were selling ideas and not tangible objects. Kickstarter seemed like the ideal place, perhaps the only place, to handle such a high-concept project like this. When it was accepted we were thrilled. We talked a lot about how to present this project to potential backers and did many rewrites of the text so that it would be very clear what we were doing. The video was very important to us and we chose a collaborator that people would know, to make it more tangible and real to them. James Franco is also a conceptual thinker that understood the whole project right away and he crated a non-visible artwork that seemed to go perfectly with the concept.The rewards section could have been much longer, as we had many works of art for sale, but we limited it for the sake of ease in reading through the project. We felt that potential backers would want to be part of the whole process as they are with many other Kickstarter projects. So when a backer gets the reward of a non-visible work of art, and they put that card on their wall, they can then explain it to their friends, and that is another way of what we imagined the typical backer of Kickstarter projects could really become involved.
Who would you expect to come to the Museum of Non-Visible Art and what would you hope they would get out of the experience?
When we tour this project we will do several things. In fact, we are doing a workshop of this project in a European biennial this fall, but in general, a tour would work like this: We would create a performance in a gallery or a museum or another location at a certain time. When the audience is assembled, we begin to guide them, just as a tour guide of a museum would. “Please step into the lobby, and now into the elevator.” The difference with the tour, is that we are also imagining and recreating an entire architectural space of a museum. In some cases we are recreating a building that was designed but never built. In New York, we want to recreate the downtown Guggenheim by Gehry that was never built. To do that, we stand on or near that proposed site and begin to describe the museum as we were just saying. There are museums and spaces all over the world that were designed but not built and we would like to re-animate all these spaces. So, picture an audience going through the non-visible museum, only we are gesturing to the walls and ceiling describing architectural details as well as the non-visible artworks. Here is where kickstarter comes in. This tour of a non-visible museum is not simply a performance, it is a tour of a museum, and the only art works that we are describing are already SOLD. This makes a huge difference, because then we are not just imagining things, we are describing real visual works of art that were received as rewards on Kickstarter, and they are owned, and in this case “loaned” to the museum. The audience for these tours will be actively visualizing what we are discussing, but they are also understanding another concept which is that the works they are imagining are already owned, and the owners have a certificate of authenticity!
What the audience of these tours might feel or receive, is a new way of looking at the world. Seeing things that are real, but not there, can change your perspective, like seeing the matrix code or a world within a world. It is art, but it is also a parallel reality that we can all become involved in.
Why do you think something like MONA would be relevant to the contemporary art scene?
The art scene historically has a precedent for this that we fit in to. In the 1950s, Yves Klein sold “invisible pictoral sensibility,” and also exhibited an empty gallery saying his paintings were invisible. Sol LeWitt sold instructions to make his drawings, and Yoko Ono wrote about imaginary scenes, and most recently, Tino Sehgal who had a solo show at the Guggenheim last year, created situations, like a couple kissing, and sold the instructions to own that to MOMA, who lent it to the Guggenheim! Tino Sehgal is unusual in that he tried not to create any documentation at all, it is all verbal instruction on how to recreate one of his performances. MOMA bought The Kiss for $70,000 and the director Glen Lowry, said it was one of the most difficult acquisitions that they ever made. So, here we are building a non-visible museum and selling the descriptions of artworks inside, which is slightly different from artists that preceeded us, but not without context.
We feel that this is just the beginning, and we would like to invite artists, writers, and others to collaborate with us, by coming up with their own non-visible work which we would sell through the museum. By inviting all kinds of artists from different fields we like the idea of merging disciplines and providing an open space where the imagination is the limit.
Was there a particular place from which the idea sprang? What was your thought process in conceiving of it?
Yes, in a way, the bandages for non-visible wounds were the start of it, but the non-visible museum idea began taking shape two years ago, when we were thinking about collaborating with other artists and building an institution. Richard Foreman once told us that artists like Jonas Mekas who started the Anthology Film Archives, were institution builders and that the world needed more of that, which is to say, more artists creating institutions that support the arts. This museum is hopefully one of those institutions as it grows. Kickstarter is also a new version of an institution that supports the arts.
Our process for putting it all together shifted several times in exactly how it would be conceived and presented, but we feel it began with the gesture of the non-visible wound, and then moved into visual art. A big part of how we thought about this involves how we want to be perceived. In conceptualizing the MONA, we wanted to be clear that this was about visual art, not a performance. That is why it was also essential that the work be owned somehow. This was key to our thought process, and the idea of rewards, of tangible things, that were at the same time intangible was a perfect way to begin to develop the project. Also, if we get lots of backers and the project succeeds, it is because of those backers, of the faith in this project. If we just used our own money and said, “here is the museum” and did the performance of the tour, it would not mean the same thing at all. But with all the backers behind it, it becomes something that we could not achieve on our own. It becomes much larger than our vision and it is a viable and real institution because we already have members or at least people who believe in the idea enough to put money down. That is what we call The New Economy, a system that creates a new form of exchange that everyone could potentially collaborate on and profit from.
What have people’s responses been like?
As of this writing we have 26 backers and are a few dollars short of 1,000, and that is after a week, so we are very optimistic. We have also had some notable backers, like a former museum director in NYC, a major curator, and other artists and professionals. We are really thrilled with the response!
Phantom Limbs “69°S”: The Final Stage — by The Phantom Limb
The Phantom Limb is an award winning, collaborative theater group based in New York City, striving to explore modern life and consciousness through a very unusual lens: the art of marionette puppetry. Their upcoming play, 69° South, is based on the harrowing tale of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 (ill-fated) trans-Antarctic expedition, and it will be their self-proclaimed “biggest endeavor yet.” Just get a load of this: the final piece will require the creation of “a 21’ hydraulic puppet shipwreck that collapses in three phases,” choreographed dancers, large-scale installation, and, you know, a flaming life-size skeleton puppet. Wow.
I was always intrigued by co-creator Erik Sano’s haunting, eerily captivating marionettes, but when the group recently posted a project update featuring a studio tour they had invited The Gothamist to take, I was truly blown away. Watching Erik’s work come to life is a must see. Watch the video, and head to their project page for more.
"So, How Did All The Damn Scientists Die?" — by Scott Bateman
Scott Bateman is a cartoonist, animator, and writer based in New York City. Between you, me, and the internet, we hear he likes to fake it. Make stuff up. Tell total lies! And we love it. His hilarious, frankly fictional/historical mini-comics have us in stitches, and are probably making our high school teachers hate us. C’est la vie! For this weeks guest post, he tells us a little bit about himself and the inspiration behind his erroneous epigrams. Make sure to check it out — just don’t believe anything he says!
Most people know me as an animator. In 2005-6, I did the Bateman365 project, where I made an animated film every day for a year. This led to a briefly-lived show on PlumTV, “Scott Bateman Presents Scott Bateman Presents,” which included voice work from Kristen Schaal, Jenny Slate, Reggie Watts and more. PlumTV only airs in places where rich people live, like Martha’s Vineyard and Aspen, so I’ve never seen my own show (though I’d like to think Puffy has seen it at his place in the Hamptons). Then I made an animated feature film, Atom Age Vampire, which played at some film festivals. There were some music videos in there as well, for Thao, Low, Clinic and a few more.
But, eventually, I got really burned out on producing animation. So in 2010, not sure what to do next, I brewed up a 24-page minicomic, Let’s Learn About The Damn Presidents Already, Geez. LLATDPAG features fake facts about all 44 presidents (“John Adams was not only a Founding Father, but also a Founding Uncle, a Founding Brother and a Founding Great Aunt. It was complicated.”). It was fun to combine my artwork with fake facts (which I’m still writing daily on Twitter), and the minicomic sold out wherever I sold it.
So, How Did All The Damn Scientists Die? is another fake fact minicomic, but it’s also an homage to Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Like Gashlycrumb, it explains how several people died, in verse — 22 famous scientists, from Archimedes to Stephen Hawking (not actually dead yet, I know) are featured. Sadly, none of them die of ennui.
Gorey’s always been an inspiration — his line work is amazing. But really, it’s that darkly comic sensibility that I’m drawn to. I’m happy with how the mini has turned out, and I can’t wait for people to see it.
The 22 scientists chosen for the book are among the most famous scientists in history, from ancient Greece to the present. I had to leave a few notables out. And really, Tycho Brahe’s epic death deserves its own book.
Some of the deaths have something to do with what the scientists are most known for—for instance, “Heisenberg’s fate is uncertain.” But many of the deaths are just plain silly — I needed a rhyme for “uncertain,” so the next entry is, “Feynman pissed off Richard Burton.” One should really not use this book to study for the SAT.
And really, the idea of making up deaths for all the famous scientists comes out of my Disalmanac project on Twitter, which involves making up crap about historical events and people. Why settle for the same old, boring facts when you can make up your own?
For over four years, the Joshua Light Show has been providing unparalled psychedelic visuals for live performances. From their early days working with the likes of the Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, to more recent collaborations with Oneida and Woods, the vision of the light show has truly remained the same — to transport audiences with organic, analog projections.
While their Liquid Loops piece has long been championed as an important piece in the experimental video history, the group felt the need to update the work, melding new visual techniques with the classic light show liquid projections. As part of their current Kickstarter project, they are unlocking Liquid Loops II and, in turn, enabling a whole new generation to re-mix their liquid vision, which, it just so happens, will be performed live this weekend at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. In celebration of the event, I recently headed to the Joshua Light Show’s Brooklyn studio to chat about their techniques, and check out exactly how they use all sorts of machines and gizmo’s to create wondrously analogue, handmade atmospherics.
As a kid one of my fondest memories of New York was watching it through the rear window of my parents station wagon. That song was right, the neon lights were really bright on Broadway. Safe to say, anyone whose been struck by the glowing fluorescence of signs for a cheap back rub or liquor could probably say the same. Kirsten Hively understands, and is taking it upon herself to document and preserve these incandescent pieces of New York’s past in a myriad of ways, including a free iPhone app.
Do you recall the first time in your life you were really struck by neon signs?
There have been a bunch of times that individual signs struck me, but the first time I was really bowled over by a bunch of signs was when I went to Portland for my brother’s wedding a few years ago. That city has a great collection of signs! Not long afterwards I visited Chicago, which also has some gems. I ended up taking quite a few neon sign pictures both places, which made me realize I didn’t have any pictures of neon signs in New York City, because I just took them for granted.
Was there a particular sign that was the impetus for this project?
Yes, two: Goldberger’s Pharmacy and the Cork & Bottle. Both of these signs are near my job in the Upper East Side—I had started a new administrative job in late November after being unable to find architecture work. The days were getting shorter and I was spending my workdays in a neighborhood I just have no connection to. I really needed to find a reason to love the Upper East Side when I noticed Goldberger’s, and the pink glow of the Cork & Bottle further down First Avenue. I knew Papaya King was further up, and I started wondering how many more signs were in the neighborhood. I couldn’t find a comprehensive list of working signs online anywhere—lots of elegies to lost signs, or old photos of signs that might or might not still be there, or daytime photos that gave no clue to whether the sign was still functional, but no guide to what’s out there, lit up at night. So I decided to start one myself and Project Neon was born. I made sure to always document the business name and address, and when a sign I’ve photographed vanishes, I make a note of it so people will know. Every time I go out I research the neighborhood to find a few signs I’m pretty sure will be there, but I’m always surprised by signs I didn’t know about, big & small, and it’s really addictive—it’s hard to stop when I can see a glow down the street. Maybe it’s some spectacular new sign. I have to go check it out. So I end up wandering all over the city, sometimes for hours.
A certain sign that is your favorite?
That’s even harder. There are several great signs for shops that close early which I haven’t seen lit because the longer days caught up with me before I could get to them—I’ve got a list ready to go for next fall. Also some signs look really great in photos, but aren’t so dramatic in real life, and vice versa. A few of my favorites are the signs at Nathan’s in Coney Island, The Subway Inn in Midtown, Lenox Lounge in Harlem, Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, Clover Deli in Kips Bay, and of course Goldberger’s, since I probably wouldn’t have started the project if I hadn’t seen that. But those are just the tip of the iceberg.
What drew you to turning this project into an App, as opposed to say exhibition or book?
One thing that’s really important to me is that other people go out and see these signs (and photograph them if they like) themselves. I also really want to encourage people to support the businesses that host these great signs, which is why the blog I post to weekly is about me going to a neoned shop, restaurant, bar, or whatever and actually going in and buying something instead of just standing outside taking pictures.
With the app it’s really convenient—you have all the information with you in your pocket so whether you set out intending to track down a particularly great sign or just have some time to kill and are curious what’s nearby, you can easily get the information you need. The app will also let people rate signs, so it’s not just me saying what I think is the best sign.
That being said, I am planning a photo show in the fall at the awesome City Reliquary in Williamsburg, and hey—I wouldn’t turn down a book deal, but I think the app is really the best way to get people actively involved. And if I can find additional funding (or if my Kickstarter goal is exceeded!), I hope to bring the app to other platforms as well so it can have a wider audience. I have also thought about doing a small printed pocket guide, but it’s tough because there’s so much information. I’m still thinking about what that might look like.
Would you ever continue the project in another city?
Oh, definitely! I want to concentrate on New York right now because I want to really do it justice, but I very much hope to visit the other great neon cities some time in the future so I can include them in Project Neon.
Why do you think neon signs resonate so much with on-lookers/passersby?
I think there are several reasons. One big reason is that the neon signs that have been around for awhile become icons in our mental map of the city, like big glowing pushpins. When I’m going to Old Town Bar north of Union Square, for example, I never remember which street it’s on, but I know that if I walk north from the park I’ll see the glow, so it’s this friendly beacon in the night, and I associate all the good memories I have of Old Town with that sign. And if you look at the types of businesses that tend to have neon signs, they’re often places you go for help or solace or rest of some kind—hotels, bars, pharmacies, churches. Places you might need to find at night or in an unfamiliar neighborhood, so the signs are very welcoming.
Also I think the fact that they are handmade is really appealing. The craft of neon is something I definitely hope to learn more about over the next few months.
Mostly, though, I think it’s just that they’re beautiful. They have these very particular saturated colors that cast amazing glows on their surroundings, and many of them have really wonderful typography. Plus even though they can be really colorful and have elaborate letterforms, they’re kind of minimal in a way, because at night so much of the visual chaos of the city falls away into the darkness. I also love that they often have a little flicker or hum that just seems so much livelier than, say, a vinyl awning. I’m fond of a lot of different kinds of signs, but neon signs are definitely in a class of their own, and happily I am not the only who feels that way.
Have you had any funny interactions while photographing signs?
Yes! One was the first night I went out with my camera. A stout fellow was smoking a cigar and watching me take photos of the Goldberger’s Pharmacy sign. I think it looked extra-odd because I’ve been using a 50mm lens that works well in low light, but it means I end up standing further back than you might expect to get a good shot (and have often ended up standing in snow berms or street medians). He watched, chomping on his cigar, and when I finished and started to walk away he asked what I was doing. I said I was taking pictures of the sign. He was pretty incredulous that anyone would care about the sign (I’ve run into quite a few people like that), so I finally said, “Also, it’s also the 100th anniversary of neon.” At that he broke into a huge grin, looked up at the sign, and said, “Happy birthday, neon!” It was really sweet.
What’s your favorite part about taking on this project?
There are so many things I love about this project—I love looking at the pictures, I love going out and exploring all these neighborhoods, and I love having a reason to go into all these pharmacies, bars, and restaurants—some quite old, others pretty new. I think my favorite thing, though, is hearing from all the people who have talked to me about the project. Preservationists, designers, historians, urban explorers, visitors, foreigners… so many different kinds of people. And running the Kickstarter campaign has definitely forced me to spread the word about it in a way I never would have done on my own, which has led to talking to even more people about it. One of the reasons I first expanded the project beyond the Flickr set where it started was because of all the feedback & encouragement I was getting there. The audience matters, and the more the audience participates, the more the project grows. Thanks to everyone who has backed the project, written about it, suggested neon signs I should find, or otherwise encouraged me. I would never have done all this without all that.