The Kickstarter Blog

20 Questions With Sa Umbrella's Justin Nagelberg

  1. Kickstarter at Art Basel in Miami Beach

    Back in September, we announced that Art Basel was launching a new initiative to highlight and support work by non-profit visual arts organizations. This partnership has already helped seven inventive art projects from around the world come to life — everything from a groundbreaking exhibition about performance art in the Arab world to an online magazine about contemporary art from a Los Angeles point-of-view. As those ideas are coming to fruition, others are just launching — two new projects are live now:

    Daniel Arsham: Welcome to the Future at Locust Projects
    Daniel Arsham: Welcome to the Future at Locust Projects

    Locust Projects, Miami’s longest-running alternative art space, is producing a major new installation by New York-based artist Daniel Arsham in his hometown of Miami. It’s called Welcome to the Future, and involves Arsham digging a 25-foot-wide trench in the gallery floor and filling it with the calcified artifacts of the future — a “muted cacophony of 20th century media devices.” Part of the funds will go toward fixing up the gallery floor for the next artist.

    Preserving Place: Portraiture Studios in the Middle East
    Preserving Place: Portraiture Studios in the Middle East

    The Mosaic Rooms, a non-profit gallery in London, wants to help Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian produce his first book, to coincide with his first UK solo show. The book will reflect on the disappearing tradition of studio portraiture in the Middle East and will feature Sarkissian’s photographs of empty, staged studio backdrops in six Middle Eastern cities. The photos serve as “symbols of lost traditions, cultural identity and time; eulogies to a certain period within a society and celebrations of portraiture as an art form, and of these spaces, which can no longer be found.”

    Headed to Miami? We’re offering a limited number of single-day tickets to Art Basel in Miami Beach free with the promo code Kickstarter, redeemable here. (Only one per person, please!) We also wanted to share a few Kickstarter events, in case you’re in the neighborhood!

    • Starting Wednesday, December 3 and going through Sunday, December 7, we’ll hold daily meet-and-greet sessions from 3 to 5 pm in the Garden Oasis at the Botanical Garden across from the Miami Beach Convention Center. Anyone is welcome to stop by, say hi and learn more about Art Basel's Crowdfunding Initiative and Kickstarter! No ticket or RSVP needed. Contact with any questions.
    • On Friday, December 5 from 10 to 11:30 AM, we’ll have an event in the Conversation series, focused on new funding models for the visual arts. Speakers will include our International Partnerships Lead Stephanie Pereira, plus Dennis Scholl of the Knight Foundation and gallerist Jérôme Poggi. The session will be moderated by András Szánto. It will take place in the auditorium at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and is free and open to the public, with no RSVP needed. Contact with any questions.
    • On Friday, December 5 at 6 PM, we’ll take part in a Salon discussion about Art Basel’s Crowdfunding Initiative. In addition to our Stephanie Pereira, speakers will include Mari Spirito (Founding Director of Protocinema and Juror for Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative), Glenn Phillips (Acting Head, Department of Architecture & Contemporary, Getty Institute and Juror for Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative), Chana Budgazad Sheldon (Executive Director at Locust Projects), Mary Ceruti (SculptureCenter's Chief Curator), Aaron Cezar (founding Director of Delfina Foundation). The session will be moderated by András Szánto. Entrance will be granted with a show ticket.
  2. A History of Kickstarter in Space

    We love space — its potential, its unfathomable limitlessness, the ways in which it inspires people to think things they've never thought before. Simply put: space makes you dream big. Over the years, we've seen many amazing, space-related Kickstarter projects, huge, small, real, speculative, and everywhere in between. Here are just a few of them.


    Lunar Mission One is sending an unmanned mission to the South Pole of the moon — a largely unexplored area — and in the process, bringing along a capsule of digital memories and physical human materials (you can send along a strand of hair, for instance). The project is transforming the way that space exploration happens by removing the need for a huge investment from national space agencies, and putting the power in the hands of individuals instead. 

    Kansas City SSEP Mission 5 Rocket

    Earlier this year, a group of middle-schoolers designed an experiment to send to space (it was about whether rust occurs on a nail in microgravity). They launched the experiment on July 13th, and rendezvoused with the International Space Station! Read about the launch details here

    Plasma Jet Electric Thrusters for Spacecraft

    Prototype projects are an important part of Kickstarter, and this plasma thruster is a great example. For years, HyperV has been building, operating, and deploying plasma accelerators of many different shapes, sizes, and power levels (they show many of them off in the project video). This project was for the development and demonstration of a prototype plasma jet thruster that could be used for orbital maneuvering and much more. It's about taking existing technology and making it more robust.


    The ARKYD is a space telescope that's controllable by anyone. That means that backers could search for asteroids, look at distant galaxies, or examine our own solar system from the ARKYD. And another thing: you can also send a picture of yourself to it, which means space selfies with the Earth as a backdrop, using the ARKYD's camera arm. The project is not yet complete, but you can follow its fascinating story in the updates

    1000 Student Projects to the Edge of Space

    Between this project and its twin brother, hundreds of tiny student art- and science projects from all around the world (all fitting inside ping pong balls!) went to circle the Earth in weather balloons. We have been following these two projects with great interest — here's an amazing picture of one of the balloons mid-bursting.


    One of several satellite projects on Kickstarter, the ArduSat is a hackable Arduino satellite designed to open up space exploration to everyone. You can create your own experiment and then send it to space to run; after about a week, the data returns to you. In 2013, it deployed from the International Space Station. 

    The Intergalactic Travel Bureau Tour

    What space roundup would be complete without an imaginative look toward the future? The Intergalactic Travel Bureau Tour is a series of posters about the speculative future of space travel — it's basically a travel agency for space transit. The posters are beautifully designed, with whimsical calls to sight-see on Mars or book your dream vacation on one of Saturn's moons. Because if there's anything this roundup proves, it's that space exploration is all about what we can imagine.

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