Expanding the Kickstarter + MoMA Design Store Collection

Earlier this year, we were thrilled to collaborate with the MoMA Design store on a collection of beautiful, unique design products that were made with Kickstarter. Seeing creators complete the journey from idea to real life to the MoMA Design Store was so much fun, that today we're excited to announce we're expanding the collection — adding more incredible things brought to life with the support of people like you. 

The nine new products in the expanded collection — everything from a modern gramophone to an ultra-safe bike light — were supported by over 29,000 people on Kickstarter. You can see them all here.

This collaboration isn't the only major news involving Kickstarter and MoMA. Last week, MoMA announced that they have acquired two Kickstarter-funded projects as part of their permanent collection. Makey Makey and Ototo are two incredible devices that allow people to create music from all kinds of objects, including bananas! As Senior Curator Paola Antonelli noted, while these objects "might be small in scale, their significance for contemporary design — and the world at large — knows little bounds."

See the entire collection of products made with Kickstarter in the MoMA Design Store

Meet the Team: Victoria and Alfie

We thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves. Every so often, a couple members of the Kickstarter team will be saying hello, and picking out a few projects — past or present, successful or not — that they're especially fond of. (They will also be posing for GIFs. The GIFs are mandatory.)

This week, meet Victoria and Alfie:

Victoria Rogers

Job: "I work on developing our relationships with local creative communities — right now I'm working with a lot of amazing people in New Orleans." (As you can see, Victoria also really lit up our Halloween party.)

  • Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes Album — "New Orleans-based musician Leyla McCalla creates her first solo record, Vari-Colored Songs. Her voice is straight from the depths of the bayou on a warm summer day. Take a listen!"
  • Nails In The Key Of Life: A Mobile Nail Salon — "Artist Breanne Trammell converts a canned ham trailer into a mobile nail salon, and takes it across America. The manicures are awesome: bright, beautiful, and at times a bit crazy. For me, the best part of the project is that the manicures themselves are only part of the story; each manicure is an opportunity for a new connection and exchange of ideas between Breanne and her clients."
  • The Potter and the RAM — "Susannah Tisue makes porcelain tableware in her studio in Brooklyn, illustrated with wild animals. She creates enchantingly honest, simple, beautiful bowls. Each piece is handmade and screen-printed, and the original drawings are adorable. I have the rabbit and duck bowls and am hoping to collect some more!"
  • Remember Me Sue: The Documentary on Sue Duncan — "Melina Kolb shares the incredible story of the Sue Duncan Children's Center, and the indomitable force behind it, Sue Duncan. I had the chance to volunteer at the center growing up in Chicago, and it absolutely changed my life. Sue gave me the opportunity to launch an art class at the center, and exposed me to the potential for creativity to create change."

 Alfie Palao

Job: "Yo! I answer any questions that come in from project creators and/or backers. I also sit across from Jes."

  • MODERN RUIN: A World's Fair Pavilion — "The pavilion is a huge landmark in Queens, where I'm from (shoutout to the Grand Central Parkway). I have a childhood memory of going skating around here when i was a kid and just being in awe of this massive and strange looking ... thing ("what the hell is that?"). It wasn't until much later on (junior high school, maybe?) that i learned a bit more about the 1964 World's Fair. Matthew Silva has taken this curiosity that a lot of us have had about this building, the World's Fair, and more, and is working on a documentary/tribute to it. Moreover, he's a co-founder of the People For The Pavilion, who have made incredible strides towards saving and restoring the pavilion from its current state of (beautiful) decay. It's quite notable that, though he's a first time filmmaker, the rough cut I've seen of Modern Ruin so far looks incredible."
  • Out Of My Hand: A Narrative Feature — "I was pretty shocked to hear my good friend Mike was heading to Africa to film a movie with his buddy Takeshi. They shot a large portion of this film in Liberia, and wanted to highlight a life outside of the civil wars that have haunted public perception for quite some time. The results are kind of like going to see your friend's band play (friend rock) and being laid to complete sonic waste. A pleasant surprise! No offense, Mike. I've always believed in you."
  • Rebuilding The Silent Barn — "My first introduction to Kickstarter! I kind of remember hearing that Silent Barn, a space I had frequented for many amazing and uncomfortably (seriously, unbearably) hot shows, had been broken into and would have to be shut down for the time being. What I definitely do remember is the amazing response everyone had to this campaign (it was borderline inescapable on Facebook). It's still kind of shocking that this project managed to raise $40,000 ... most of the people who played or went to shows here barely had jobs to cover rent (myself included). But hey, there's a new Silent Barn now and somewhere in my closet there's a T-shirt with a cat on it."

Kickstarter Celebrates Documentary Month

Somewhere between the invention of Netflix Streaming and right now, documentaries started enjoying quite a renaissance. It's not like they weren't great before, we're just saying that after a whole lot of them popped up on Netflix, we heard the sentence "I just want to watch a documentary" 98% more times than before (not actual math). 

Similarly, we noticed that our friends were suddenly experts in really weird things like fainting mountain goats or modern vikings or lost photographers. What we're saying is that docs are entertaining and informative and often beautifully done. Furthermore, there are a whole lot of them that were funded through Kickstarter, all very much worth watching, especially as it starts to get cold and dark before lunchtime. 

As luck would have it, November is the month when not one but four documentary festivals are happening all over the globe. Guess what?! We'll be at all of them, so check below for a handy guide of what to see and do if you're thinking about attending any (or all) of them.

CPH: DOX, November 6-16, Copenhagen, DK

We've partnered with CPH: DOX to select five documentary projects from their community that will be launching Kickstarter campaigns over the next year. The projects will receive hands-on mentorship from Kickstarter staff, and great documentary vets like Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified) and Rachel Grady (Detropia), among others. In addition, our very own George Schmalz will be hosting a discussion about making and producing documentaries with Kickstarter. In addition, the ten films below will be screened as part of CPH: MARKET.

Above All Else // Approaching the Elephant// Art And Craft //  Below Dreams // Buffalo Juggalos // First to Fall //  In Country // RICH HILL // Tomorrow We Disappear // A Will for the Woods

DOC NYC, November 13-20, New York, NY

DOC NYC happens on our home turf of New York, and the roster of docs being shown is proof: a whopping 38 films made by Kickstarter alumni will be shown at the festival. In addition, our own Dan Schoenbrun and Kickstarter film alumni David Thorpe (Do I Sound Gay), Chad Walker and Dave LaMatina (I Am Big Bird), Mina T. Son and Sara Newens (Top Spin) will host a panel featuring lessons in creative funding, promotion, and audience engagement.

Do I Sound Gay? // The Yes Men Are Revolting // Back on Board // I Am Big Bird // Almost There // In Country // Kasama-Yaki (Made in Kasama) // The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest // The Wound and The Gift // Rubble Kings // Some Kind of Spark // Stop // Tough Love // Florence, Arizona // Grazers: A Grass-Fed Beef Cooperative Story // Hotline // Haunters // Little White Lies // Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine // Sex and Broadcasting, a film about WFMU // Marmato // The Return // Capturing Grace // 9-MAN // Top Spin // She's Beautiful When She's Angry // Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia Lost Rock n Roll // Heaven Adores You // Salad Days: The Birth of Punk Rock in the Nation's Capital // Love & Terror // Finding Vivian Maier // Keep On Keepin' On // RICH HILL // Reverence: A Documentary Short on Branded Yarmulkes // Cherry Pop: The Story of the World's Fanciest Cat // World's Longest Yard Sale // Embedded // Us, Naked

RIDM, November 12-23, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Montreal's RIDM features a number of innovative, experimental docs including three Kickstarter-funded films: Clouds, Buffalo Juggalos, and Evaporating Borders.

IDFA, November 19-30, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is Europe's largest doc festival, and Dan Schoenbrun and Liz Cook from Kickstarter's film team will be in attendance to talk about Kickstarter projects that experiment with the way we tell stories, whether it be in cinema, journalism, technology, or any other projects that exist outside the realm of film.

If you're attending IDFA, Liz will also be on hand to meet with filmmakers that want advice or feedback about Kickstarter projects.

See hundreds of films made with Kickstarter on our Watch page.

Brain Dump: Bleeding Palm's Ronnie Rivera

The Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse is hard to explain. Or it isn't. In fact, it's exactly what the title says it is: Miami Heat's Christopher Bosh has animated adventures as a "weird crazy space god." To (hopefully) better understand the mind behind such a bizarre piece of art, we talked to one the people behind the series, Bleeding Palm's Ronnie Rivera, about swamps, killer whales, and tropical Chinese food.

How do you start each morning?

Coffee, coffee, coffee while I stare blankly at a computer screen for about an hour wondering where I went wrong.

Small thing you can’t live without:

My mini Wacom drawing tablet

Last great meal you had:

Dim Sum at Tropical Chinese restaurant

Music you loved as a teenager: 

The Subhumans, N.W.A., Dr. Dre, Dead Kennedys, Kreamy Lectric Santa, The Crumbs

Place you wish everyone could visit:

Big Cypress Swamp, there is a darkness and emptiness there that everyone should experience.

Last idea or factoid you came across that stayed in your brain:

The killer whale is a natural predator of the moose.

First movie you saw in the theater:


Person in your field whose career/life/work you admire:

Lucas Pope, the artist behind Papers, Please and the upcoming Return of the Obra Dinn.

Favorite app? 


What’s your computer desktop/phone lock screen?

 Your favorite personal item of clothing: 

My Vault 101 hoodie

What do you carry with you every day? 

Lucky 20 sided dice

Favorite place to eat: 

Josh’s Deli in Surfside

Who did you learn the most from? 

The internet.

Favorite thing about the place you live:

 It is seriously crazy here.

Favorite time of day and why: 

My favorite time of day is early evening after the evil daystar has set, it's less humid then.

First book you remember being really affected by:

The Stranger

Favorite thing to work with: 

It's been a while, but I love to work with acrylic paint on wood panel.

What is the last thing you made? 

Concept art for a future project tentatively called GLADEZ: 2077

The Most Stylish Transdimensional Object Around

The Black Glove is a creepy, surreal first-person game with a time-bending twist. It takes place in a 1920s hotel called the Equinox, which is inhabited by a host of remarkable individuals. One of the objectives of the game is to influence their pasts in order to change the present-day world. While playing, you also have to face the Equinox's chief adversary, the Space Minotaur. And then there's the eponymous glove, which has some unique properties of its own.

We talked to Joe Fielder, one of the co-founders of Day For Night Games, about how the world of the game came together.

First some background. You've all worked on some more mainstream stuff, but this game is pretty untraditional. How did you arrive at the concept, and what about it appealed?

We wanted to make a game that not only played into our team’s experience in creating immersive worlds and compelling game narrative for the BioShock series, but challenged us to develop our skills even further. Many narrative-focused games are mainly about uncovering the narrative, so we wanted to give the player direct control not only over altering the course of the story, but the world around them.

It became clear that taking an eerie, surrealistic route along the lines of Jean Cocteau, David Lynch, and Alain Resnais would be really fun, but we also found ways to work in our love of Jack Kirby, William S. Burroughs, Laurie Anderson and more into the mix, as well as our fondness for “so-bad-it's-good” things like black velvet paintings, sad-eyed clown art, and B-movies.

There are meta-games contained in the game — what is their function? Also, why the anachronism of retro '80s-style arcade games?

The premise allows us to create dozens of different environments and stories for the player to explore, which they unlock by playing — yes, I know this sounds strange, but trust me it’s all tied in — the coolest '80s arcade game that you’ve ever seen, heard, or played. That’s The Maze of the Space Minotaur, which I’ve heard some people describe as “Wizard of Wor-meets-Bomberman.”

I wrote an article about how it came together, but in a nutshell, we’ve seen a lot of response from gamers who were tired of having to constantly kill or be killed in narrative-focused games. That doesn’t mean they don’t want gameplay though, so the part of The Black Glove’s premise is that there are certain games of skill and chance that allow us to interact with fourth-dimensional space. It’s kind of a gamified take on William S. Burroughs’ cut-up method, which he felt allowed art to connect with different time periods.

In it, you’re trapped in a labyrinth full of cosmic monsters and have to collect energy to power your blaster, laser sword, teleport pack, or bomb pack. Some creatures hunt by sound, some by sight. Some teleport, some charge. You need to accomplish “feats” — achievements that spotlight particularly fun aspects or push you to learn clever strategies — in The Maze of the Space Minotaur in order to summon The Black Glove and change the past.

The plot and setting feel very cinematic. What are some of your non-game world influences (visual art, film, etc)? What about influences within the game world?

I mentioned a few above, but I’d also add films like La Jete, Eyes Without a Face, Seconds, and even Duck Soup, as well as b-movies like Monster Dog, Gamera, and The Legend of Boggy Creek.

Some of the early ideas from the game came from seeing the play Sleep No More, which is a series of concurrent narratives played out across different areas of an old school or hotel. It’s an amazing environment that you could wander around exploring for hours, but being a gamer, I wanted interaction… to be able to affect the narrative. That’s probably a little much to expect from a play, but it’s perfect for a game.

In the game world, the BioShock series is probably the biggest influence. It taught us all a lot about creating environments that have a real sense of space, time, and place and crafting narrative that makes you care about the characters that inhabit that world. Oh, and plenty of shocks and surprises.

Playing with the idea of nonlinear time is one of the coolest parts of the game. How did you achieve these aspects of the game, visually and plot-wise? Can you talk a bit about building up the world of the game in general?

In the game, when you summon The Black Glove, you can change one aspect of a creator’s past, specifically, their Medium, Message, and Muse. One alteration and everything in that character’s environment and story changes. You’ll be able to hunt down hints at what to alter next, but even a wrong choice should give interesting results.

That give us many interesting challenges for the narrative and art, and generally a game that’s really fun to make is really fun to play as well. For the player, it gives a chance to visit places that you’ll never see in real life and we can work in mediums that are normally a little dangerous to be around, like x-ray light and fire. A standard play through will take several hours, but in order to see everything, it’ll take many more. The game’s designed to be fun to play multiple times, with its expansive nonlinear narrative, dozens of environments to explore, and many challenging arcade feats.

What is the black glove — the object — in a nutshell?

It’s the most stylish transdimensional object around. It’s the ultimate in wish fulfillment, comes complete with an inexplicable hole through the center, and goes well with every outfit.

You just had several big announcements in the last week. What were they?

First off, we’ve released an updated trailer with new footage that shows that the Maze of the Space Minotaur creatures are beginning to seep into the theatre's reality and hints at the larger narrative behind The Equinox and The Black Glove. It’s perfect timing for Halloween. (We’re also releasing a free printable Space Minotaur Halloween mask, I should add.)

We’ve also announced that comic writer Charles Soule (Death of Wolverine, Superman/Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Letter 44) will be helping me script the game. He’s fantastically adept at both big plot reveals and quiet character moments. He’s also a gamer and I had a great time working with him on an as-yet-unannounced game earlier this summer.

Last but not least, we’ve revealed that we’ll not only be bringing The Black Glove to PC/Mac/Linux, we’ll also be supporting the PlayStation 4. Our backers demanded it and when they do that, we take it really seriously and do what it takes to make it happen.

A Year of Games From Down Under

It’s been nearly a year since we opened our doors to creators in Australia and New Zealand. Since then, more than 200 games projects from those countries have raised more than $1.2 million USD. And this is a big week for games in Australia, as Melbourne hosts both PAX Australia and Games Connect Asia Pacific. So it feels like the right moment to give a big virtual hug to all of our games creators in Australia and New Zealand, and highlight a few of our favorites from their work over the last year.


We’re eagerly looking forward to the release of this stunning hybrid board/card/PC game starring heroic animals.

Jelly God 

 Jelly God, which was funded just last month, promises to be a weird but fulfilling experience as you inject a gray world with vibrant hues.

Shipwrights of the North Sea 

We’re already plotting our strategies to have the biggest fleets in the North Sea in this game set in the early years of the Viking Age, circa 900 AD. It's shipping to backers imminently.


It’s tea time and you’re a respectable 1920s socialite in this beautifully illustrated card game. If you missed the project, you can order a deck here.


Probably the first post-apocalyptic adventure game with a mutant sloth villain.


Developed for iOS and Android, Totome is a gorgeous, immersive mobile game.

Hand of Fate 

A digital deck-building card game about life and death!

Fragged Empire 

Fragged Empire is a tabletop RPG setting and rules, with a far-future 'post, post-apocalyptic' setting. Your people have survived 100 years of brutal tribalism and savagery and are just now emerging back into space.


You’re an armadillo…running from a berserk panda. What more needs to be said?

Protocol E 

This project is live right now! Protocol E is a strategy game set in a cyberpunk universe. The soundtrack is perfect and the vector graphics make us want to dive into its matrix. Check it out and show your support for these Sydney-based developers.

Adam J. Kurtz's Unsolicited Advice

“Don’t forget to rest this weekend, or you’re gonna feel like shit on Monday.” This is the kind of real-talk directive that you’ll find in author and graphic designer Adam J. Kurtz’s planners and journals. Filled with creative tips both grand and mundane, Unsolicited Advice is a personal pet project for Kurtz — he writes and designs the calendars himself, self-publishes, and then packs and ships them out of his living room. The 2015 edition of the calendar launched mere weeks after the publication of Kurtz’s first book, One Page at a Time.

Kurtz spoke to us about time management, building a mini-empire of creative projects, and slowing down often enough to find the inspiration in everyday.

What do you tell people who have writers block? What do you do when people come to you seeking advice on how to be creative?

I struggle with the idea of a creative person. The subtitle of my book, A Daily Creative Companion, was not my idea, and I was a little unsure of it. I hate the idea of creativity as a have/have not thing. We’re all creative. If you’re alive you’re creative. Being human is a creative experience. It just depends on how you define it.

I think when people have writers block it’s because they’re putting so much pressure on themselves to be creative that they just forget to actually be creative. For me, my best stuff happens by accident. It’s like, I tweet something or I’m about to, and then I think, “Wait. Save it. Print this. Write this down.” I email myself a lot. I text myself. If you text yourself it waits a few second and then buzzes you back, so you can see your idea twice.

Do you carry a journal or a diary, too? 

 I do have several notebooks that I cycle through—a lot of scrap paper. I’ve been doing a project for three years called Week in Scraps. So I’m always carrying trash and ideas and garbage on me at all times. But yeah, I think creativity is always there. Just don’t think. Just do. Make it.

This is very helpful advice for overthinkers.

I think the book is dumber than people might expect. I think people think, "Oh great, this book is gonna help me with my writers block or help me with my art." But the book is just going to help you to remember to be a person. Like, the book tells you to take a deep breath. The book has pages in it that say, “Don’t do anything.” “Just sit down in the shower. Just sit.” I think people will be surprised by how weird and how real this book is.

Has anyone gone through the book and done the actual program?

Yes. The book has already been published in Brazil. They rushed it out in Portuguese first. It’s been out for about three months, and it’s on the bestseller list. Totally nuts! People are doing it. The book is full of hashtags, so people are posting and tagging me. People are doing the book in ways that I’ve never anticipated. I’m not a great illustrator — I’m more into words and writing, but people are drawing beautiful art in my shitty book. Seeing it is just incredible. I check that stuff meticulously. I’m going through and liking Brazilian people’s posts. I’m getting really great drawings, really unique responses. I love it. It’s one more fun thing for me to obsess about on the internet.

Do you think the internet is a hindrance to creativity?

Yes. The internet is wonderful for reasons we already understand. But the internet sucks because you see people putting out content so quickly that you think you’re supposed to do that too. And so you rush ideas out instead of saving them to make something bigger and better. And the truth is, I do that with my personal work. I’ll rush products out that aren’t great or designs that are stupid and it can feel really great and real in the moment. But there are definitely people who care more about keeping up with social media more than they care about actually making things. And it’s sad, because it’s usually great stuff.

The other thing is that some people are really great at Instagram, and I’m like, “You’re a photographer! That’s a book!” People always say, “I wish I could make a book” and it’s like “Look at this book I made. You could have done this. Your tweets are a book. Your tweets are poetry. You’re already writing!” People forget.

It’s more like “I’m good at social media” or “I’m putting this thing out there.”

Yeah, “I’m pumping this stuff out so fast that I’m not even looking at it.” I think that can be difficult. We’re too fast. This book and a lot of my projects are just tricks so that I slow down. I feel like everything I’m making is sort of me telling myself what I need to hear and then letting other people in on it. My boyfriend saw a copy of the book when it was printed, and he looked at it and said, “Uh, so babe, are you going to do this?” He totally called me out. It was like, “You need this book. You basically created your own little savior.”

So are you going to do it?

Do I have to?

Yeah, you do! And keep a diary of keeping your diary.

That might be too many layers. My brain might explode. I’m going to do the book too, and I think it is going to help. Reminders of taking deep breaths and drinking enough water. I work in advertising. We forget to take a deep breath a lot of the time, especially when you live in New York. We all do.

This book is the opposite of the internet and New York. This book is what I wish I had when I was fourteen, and that’s the cool thing about it. It’s made for adults but it’s the perfect teen journal. This is the kind of book that your aunt buys you, like, “That’s cute.” And then you get to the page where you’re asked to fill in your own tombstone and you’re like, “What?” It’s cooler than it looks, so I think it’s a good gift for your cool weird sister, or your one friend who’s a little off.

I think if Daria was alive she’d roll her eyes, but then she’d secretly like this. People love Daria and I don’t know why they haven’t done a movie yet or brought the cartoon back. I think now the nineties are back, so pretty soon the 2000s will be back, and I’m so ready. I don’t remember the nineties, that was fifteen years ago. But bring back Daria. Bring back Michelle Branch. Where is Michelle Branch?

I’ve heard that you’re a Michelle Branch fan.

Truthfully I know exactly where she is at this exact moment. [Laughs] No. She’s been recording. She had a third album that got shelved, which is really sad. But she leads this wonderful creative life where she had a bakery, and she was doing an online cooking show. She has a cool daughter and she still performs all the time. She may not be Katy Perry, but she’s still making a living doing her art. That’s what I want for myself.

I mailed her a copy of the book and I wrote her a letter that said, “I find you really inspiring. That you’ve made a life out of being really honest, never hypersexualized.” And she was never trying to be the number one pop star. She was just like, “I’m gonna make a couple of records and do this until I can’t.” That’s what I want to do. I want to keep making stuff until I can’t.

Did you hear back from her?

Yeah! She loves the book.The coolest part was that she Instagrammed it. You know what? I don’t care about the book deal or the translations. I got my Michelle Branch Instagram. If this book tanks, that’s fine.

You should put that on your gravestone.

Yeah, the gravestone is just gonna be a screenshot of her Instagram. It’ll be my book, and, like, kale juice, and her glasses.

Are you contemplating giving up your day job?

People keep asking me that. My boss asked me that. I don’t know. The really wonderful and freeing thing about this setup I have is that I have a day job. So this doesn’t have to be my job, it doesn’t have to be good, I don’t have to sell it. I have friends who have online shops — really cool, inspiring shit — but that’s their job and they have to hustle for it. I love that I can make a stupid pencil or a matchbook, and it doesn’t matter. I have a paycheck coming in, health insurance. I’m at the point now where my shop turns a small profit, and I could get into wholesaling or brand it to hell, but for now this is just my hobby — an extension of myself. And that’s what I like most about it.

A Temple to Burn

Burning Man and Kickstarter have a rich history — we've seen hundreds of playa projects on the site, and recently visited the desert ourselves. So when we saw this project to bring David Best, the Temple Builder himself, to Northern Ireland to create a work and then light it on fire, we wanted to know more about how the project came together. Turns out that the crew behind it was the Artichoke Trust, a UK-based creative company whose focus is public art. We asked Helen Marriage, the Director of Artichoke, to answer a few questions about the project. 

Could you start with talking about Artichoke's mission and projects in general?

Artichoke was originally set up in 2006 to bring French company Royal de Luxe’s show, The Sultan’s Elephant to London. Over four days we worked with the company to create a show in which an enormous, 40 foot high mechanical elephant and giant girl moved through the streets. The BBC reported that the project was seen by over one million people, and we’ve since gone on to bring a giant spider to Liverpool, worked with Antony Gormley to bring One & Other, his occupation of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, to life and to produce the largest light festival in the UK, Lumiere, amongst other things. Our work is always outdoors and almost always free, with the mission to invade public spaces and change how people feel about their surroundings. 

How did Artichoke come together with David Best?  

I was awarded a Loeb Scholarship at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2012, and during my time in the States I started thinking about the significance of David’s work at Burning Man, in the Nevada Desert. Then, when I was programming Lumiere in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 2013, I learnt about the traditions that surround bonfire burning in the city and that inspired me to invite David to create something with the community there. 

One of David Best's temples. Photo by Oliver Fluck.
One of David Best's temples. Photo by Oliver Fluck.

The setting of Derry is meaningful in several ways. Could you talk about this? 

Derry is a city that has been historically split along religious and political lines for many years.  However, in recent years the city has been moving towards a positive and peaceful future. But, bonfires still play a particular part in this history: every year they are built by both sides in the community; they’re covered with effigies, slogans and flags and then burnt. They can be seen as a historic celebration of community identity, or as a hostile act against those from a different tradition. We wanted to change how people in Derry feel about bonfires and burning, and bring the whole community together to build a beautiful shared space, offering a moment of catharsis and release when it is set alight. 

How did you choose the specific location where it will be built? 

We have to think about lots of things when choosing a site, like whether it will be accessible and safe for large groups of people to attend. But also this project has some really unique considerations, for instance when we set the structure on fire it’s going to get really hot so we’ll need a lot of extra space to accommodate this. It’s also really important to find a site where both communities would feel comfortable. 

The same temple on fire. Photo by Philip Volkers.
The same temple on fire. Photo by Philip Volkers.

What are the materials and where are they from?  

When working on a project like this it’s a real challenge to do things as sustainably as possible. When we can, we’ll work with sustainable, FSC-certified resources from local suppliers in Derry so we can minimize our carbon footprint. The structure is likely to be made from a mixture of plywood and timber, however we’re looking at alternatives. We’ll be asking people to avoid bringing items made out of plastic to be burnt and will follow Burning Man’s "Leave No Trace" philosophy to make sure the site is left as we found it once the project is over. 

The community that springs up around a project like this is as important as the end result. Can you talk about all the ways that the Derry residents can get involved? 

We’ve been overwhelmed by the kind offers of help we’ve already had for this project, not just from people living in Derry but across the world. There’ll be lots of opportunities for people to get involved: young people will get the chance to learn new skills in cutting panels at the Nerve Centre’s Fablab, and schools students will get the chance to design some of them. Over 100 individuals will be involved in raising the temple: we’ll be recruiting out-of-work builders and a running a voluntary training scheme. We’ll also need volunteer "Temple Guardians" to help maintain the safety of the site and its structure. We’re very interested to know what skills people would like to bring to the project — so far we’ve heard from an electrician in New York and a carpenter in Derry, as well as many others, so please get in touch if you want to be involved!