Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 13, 2013.

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150,000 photographs, riots, NASA, optical illusion paintings, abandoned buildings and unanswerable questions.

View Modern Ruin: Black Hole

08-15 UPDATE - Kickstarter & Vimeo Staff picks! 

08-23 UPDATE - Modern Ruin in the PRESS

08-27 UPDATE - What Happened!?

09-03 UPDATE - Don't Call It A Comeback!

09-09 UPDATE - The Final Stretch!!!

09-10 UPDATE - We Did It!!!!!!

My name is Jeff Frost. I scour the planet looking for abandoned structures. When I find a room in one that I like, I set up camp there (sometimes literally). I then proceed to paint large scale optical illusions on the interior walls, which I record with stop motion and time lapse photography.

In 2012 I released an art film & eBook constructed from 40,000 photographs called Flawed Symmetry of Prediction. It went viral and was featured on The Atlantic, io9, Colossal, NPR, Discover and many others. My subjects were the interiors of abandoned buildings, where I painted abstract optical illusions on the crumbling walls.

Immediately after this film was released I began working on a follow up film titled, Modern Ruin. Modern Ruin is a contemplation of the idea that creation and destruction is the same thing. The white hole from which our universe sprang, and the blackness into which it may disappear testify to as much, yet these bookends of existence are inadequate to address everything in between. For a better sense of what it is to exist we must speak to atoms, trees, whole collections of worlds, and of course, womankind*. 

As with all my films, every event depicted in Modern Ruin happened in naked reality, from the riots, to the optical-illusion paintings. In the same way that you, life itself and even the laws of the universe are deeply paradoxical, so too are the realities pieced together to form this non-reality.


The first half of this film, Modern Ruin: Black Hole is being released in conjunction with this Kickstarter campaign. To date, nearly 150,000 photographs have been shot for this film with far more required to bring it to completion. Your support will accelerate and elevate the second half of this project. Your support will also grant you access to the creation and destruction process of the film itself. As a supporter you can expect frequent and exclusive dispatches from the field, and not just about the successes. 

Donations will be used for the typical expenses involved in the making of a film such as equipment, travel and personnel costs. This film has no direct financial support, except for us. It is art for the sake of art, which is why your support is so sincerely appreciated. Thank you for your time, and I can’t wait to show you the second half of Modern Ruin!

- Jeff Frost

Setting up a shot at an abandoned hospital in Los Angeles
Setting up a shot at an abandoned hospital in Los Angeles

*Womankind - I have begun switching male pronouns for female pronouns in my everyday speech to point out how far we still have to go before equality is reached. I encourage you to try it, even if it's only for one day.

Print Choices

Black Hole
Black Hole

Red Hole
Red Hole

Worlds Within Worlds
Worlds Within Worlds

City Hall
City Hall

Wormhole
Wormhole

CARMA Array Sunset
CARMA Array Sunset

War Paint for Trees
War Paint for Trees

Flawed Symmetry of Prediction
Flawed Symmetry of Prediction


Book Preview

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I am often asked, "Why are you doing this? Where will this art wind up? How will you make money doing this?" The answer to these all of these questions is, I don't know! I'm doing this because I can't not do it. I'm obsessed and I couldn't stop even if I tried.

A significant challenge in creating this work is to not die. The physical risks of being in a riot doing a moving shot on a tripod for four hours (see: Modern Ruin at 1:04) are fairly obvious, as are the risks in shooting wildfires, exploring storm drains on the LA River and potentially toxic abandoned structures. But I'm okay with all of that; it's part of the adventure.

The biggest challenge has come down to dollars and cents. With that in mind, I'd like to illustrate by accounting for the expenses I've incurred since I began about 18 months ago:

Equipment (both purchased and rented) - $8,200
Travel (gas, airfare, vehicle maintenance, vehicle rental, food, campsite fees, etc) $16,500
Personnel (assistants, camerawomen, etc) - $2,900
Art Supplies (paint, brushes, tools, raw materials, etc) - $1,700
Site Fees - $4,600
TOTAL COST TO DATE $33,900

Every spare cent I make winds up going into this art project. Your support will allow me to purchase the things I need to continue doing what I do. It will provide me with breathing room to overcome mistakes and develop new techniques.

FAQ

  • I do my own music and sound design for my films. In a former life I was a struggling musician in LA slogging it out in the clubs before I turned to a life of crime/art.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    (#1) "WALLPAPER" - HD wallpaper pack of 10 portfolio images in 4k (4096 x 2160 pixels).

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    (#2) "MODERN RUIN" - HD download of the completed Modern Ruin film. Show your mom and freak her out. She can tell you all about how the whole world is going to hell and make you laugh.

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    PACKAGE: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN"

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    (#3) "8x12" - Print from the choices on the left.

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    (#4) "MEMORABILIA" - This is your chance to own a banged up, paint-stained, bedraggled paintbrush, paint marker, roller or other painting supply used to death by me during the creation of Modern Ruin. Each piece will be signed with paint marker.

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    PACKAGE: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN" + (#3) "8x12"

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    (#5) "12x18" Print on thick lustre paper from the print choices on the left.

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    PACKAGE: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN" + (#5) "12x18"

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    (#6) "20x30" Large poster print on thick lustre paper from the choices on the left.

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    PACKAGE: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN" + (#6) "20x30"

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    (#7) "MEDIUM BOOK" - Signed and numbered Modern Ruin softcover picture book (8x10, approx 100 pages). Bonus rewards included: (#2) "MODERN RUIN" + (#1) "WALLPAPER"

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    PACKAGE: SAVE $35! (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN" + (#6) "20x30" x 3 (three large poster prints)

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    (#8) "EASTEREGG" - Send me two photos you've taken of anything (as long they are yours). I will splice them into one frame each of the film (Fight Club style) and send you an HD download link. You will be the only person with your own special edit of the film! Imagine how freaked out your friends will be!

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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    (#9) "BIG BOOK DELUXE PACKAGE" - Modern Ruin hardcover coffee table book combined with the entire unreleased hard copy version of the Flawed Symmetry of Prediction book (11x13 in, approx 200 pgs). This extremely limited reward (only five available!) will include two new artworks rendered by hand on the inside covers of the book. Each copy will be signed and numbered with a handwritten note of thanks and certificate of authenticity. This book will be big, beautiful and cannot be absorbed in one sitting. Due to the high cost of producing such a book independently I will never sell this version publicly. Bonus rewards included: (#2) "MODERN RUIN" + (#1) "WALLPAPER" To see a video preview please view the video near the bottom of the page on the left.

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    (#10) "PRIVATE INSTRUCTION" - Five hour tutorial session on time lapse, photography, post processing, video editing, etc. A $750 value and kickstarter exclusive! Your session will be tailored to the areas you need the most help with (please indicate what you'd like to learn beforehand). I will come to you if you're in southern California, or if you're up for paying travel costs I can come to you! Bonus rewards included: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN"

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    (#11) "GUEST SPEAKER" I love speaking to crowds! Hire me to give a one hour guest lecture at your event or school followed by a Q&A session. Past guest lecture venues have included: USC (University of Southern California), photoLA and Orlando Museum of Art for the Snap! Orlando photography festival. Travel to be paid by backer. References provided upon request. Bonus rewards included: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN"

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    (#12) "PAINTING" - An abstract optical illusion painting on a building you own (or one that you get permission to paint on) at a very low price! I'll be happy to go anywhere in the world to do this (backer is responsible for additional travel costs). The process will be recorded with a combination of stop motion and time lapse photography, and you will receive an HD copy of the process from start to finish, along with a high resolution digital image of the final piece and 20x30" signed fine art print. The painting will measure approximately 8-10 ft high (we can work something out if you'd like something larger for an additional fee). Bonus rewards included: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN"

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    (#13) "YOU" - This is a weird one; stay with me. I will paint an abstract portrait of you (or a person of your choosing) and make a one minute art film out of it. The film will be constructed from a series of photographs, just like the paintings in my other films. Included in this reward is an HD download of the film, HD download of the five best photographs in high resolution, an mp3 download of the original soundtrack I will create for the film and finally, an 8x10 picture book of your painting. This is a once in a lifetime sort of thing, and it's a huge bargain for something truly unique. Give the video to a loved one as a gift or install it gallery style on a monitor in your front room. The possibilities are weird and endless, and endlessly weird. Bonus rewards included: (#1) "WALLPAPER" + (#2) "MODERN RUIN"

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Funding period

- (30 days)