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Ascent - an art installation exploring the evolution from analog man to future digital man - revealing who we are about to become.

I want to show you what we are becoming - digital man.  Humans are evolving from creatures living in an analog world into beings that that master the digital world. I am intrigued with how the digital revolution of the last several decades is altering the future evolution of humankind. And in my Ascent art project I imagine how we will evolve in the digital future.

What is the next step in the evolution of man?
What is the next step in the evolution of man?

The Ascent Project imagines the evolution from analog man to digital man.  The completed art installation will show how our hands might evolve. Using both analog and digital technologies I will create an art installation which shows some of those evolutionary adaptations from analog to digital man.

Using analog photograms made in an old-fashioned darkroom and digital sculptures made with a 3D printer The Ascent Project explores our evolutionary future.   The plan is to create an art installation of twenty sculptures 3D printed in translucent plastic, each with a custom marble base, also a life-size bronze casting of a real human hand; along with 180 framed 14"x11" silver gelatin photogram prints, build transport crates for the artwork, and find exhibition opportunities for the completed Ascent Project.

Here is what I’ve already done and why I need your help to finish this project.

I started with a plaster cast of my analog hand.

plaster hand
plaster hand

And then I went into the darkroom. Using the plaster cast I made 36 photograms of my hand as I rotated it at ten degree intervals and digitized those prints.  A photogram is an old-fashioned analog photographic print made using the shadow of an object. Here are 16 of the 36....

16 of the initial photograms
16 of the initial photograms

Then with the help of two CAD wizards - Jon Lash and John Rannou at the Digital Atelier in Hamilton NJ we created five 3D models from those digitized photograms. Here they are:

The five 3D models
The five 3D models

Then I had just one of those 3D digital models fabricated by a rapid prototyping company. It is about 9.5" tall. That completed just one small step of the evolution from analog man to digital man.

3D model of hand - first stage of evolution
3D model of hand - first stage of evolution

But I couldn't stop there -  because evolution relentlessly marches ahead in many small steps - so must The Ascent Project. I went back into the darkroom and made 36 more photograms of this translucent rapid prototyped hand, digitized those new photograms, digitally modeled 5 more evolved hands, output one of those models, and went through the process again and again until I had 180 photograms and 20 digital models.

I had just 4 sculptures of the digital 3D models fabricated. I had bases made for these four sculptures in white Danby marble. And I had the plaster analog hand cast in bronze. Then I framed just 15 of the 180 analog photogram prints. So now I have 5 sculptures and 15 framed prints. Using those I was able to exhibit the partially realized Ascent Project at Imlay Fine Art Gallery.

Partial Installation at Imlay Fine Art
Partial Installation at Imlay Fine Art

That was in 2009 and I couldn’t find a patron willing to kick in the money to realize the full installation. The complete Ascent Project installation really includes all 21 sculptures and 180 framed prints.

With your help I will complete The Ascent Project by printing all 20 full size sculptures.  I will have the 20 marble bases made. The 180 photograms are already made, but I need to frame all of them. I will build proper crates to ship the sculptures and framed prints to the exhibitions I expect to have.

Fortunately, the evolution of technology is much much faster than human evolution. 3D printing has become more accessible and affordable. Using a desktop 3D printer (I'm using a Makerbot Replicator 2 - some of the early Makerbots were funded here on Kickstarter!) I can now output my sculptures right in my own studio - and I can produce 3D printed sculptures as rewards for those who support the Ascent Project.

And now there is Kickstarter to help fund projects like Ascent. This is where you can participate in The Ascent Project If you give me a hand I'll give you a hand.  When you back this project you will receive a sculpture of your own - either the mini sculptures at 60mm (2 3/8") tall or the larger 145mm (5 3/4") tall. For just $25 you can get one of these mini-sculptures I've created with the 3D printer. You choose which of the four digital models you want, and when you back me at the $100 level you get you the 4 little digital hands plus the analog hand. All supporters will be recognized on the www.Ascentproject.net website, and every one of you wonderful folks will be invited to the exhibition openings.

The five 40mm reward sculptures
The five 40mm reward sculptures
The five 40mm reward sculptures
The five 40mm reward sculptures

The Big Deal:  Backers at $200 or more will receive larger - 145mm - signed sculptures that have a small sculpture inside.  (The analog hand does not have the small sculpture inside.)

the five 5.75" signed sculptures
the five 5.75" signed sculptures

Just as important as financial support is your networking support... You can also give me a hand with finding places to show The Ascent Project - tell your friends who work in galleries and museums, tell your mom, and be sure to tell your best friend. ( hashtag #ascent3d )

You might wonder - where will all this money go? There is the cost of the Makerbot and materials for the 3D printing, There is the cost of producing and shipping the rewards. However, the largest expenses are framing the 180 photograms and fabricating the 20 marble bases for the sculptures. 

You might wonder - can he do this? Will he do this?  I have been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years with a long track record of successfully completing projects on time and on budget.  I know that I can complete this project: I have already tested making the rewards so I know that I can reward my backers with the promised mini and small sculptures.  I am confident that I can create the sculptures, and I look forward to exhibiting the Ascent Project worldwide.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We risk that the 3D printer will malfunction causing delays in making the rewards. I have successfully made some rewards, but the technology is bleeding edge and can be unreliable. This would only slow down the shipping of rewards. Perhaps the response will be so great it will take a long time to fabricate the vast number of rewards. I can dream, can't I?

Finding exhibition opportunities is always a challenge (please help spread the word!) and that is the goal of The Ascent Project.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    0 backers

    Backers at the $1 level will receive the everlasting love of Petey, recognition on the Ascentproject.net website and invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    1 backer

    Backers at the $5 level receive an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love.

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    3 backers

    Backers at the $10 level will receive a postcard of the Ascent Sculptures plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US addresses, please add $1 for mailing.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    19 backers

    If you give me a hand at the $25 level I'll give you a hand: One Ascent mini-sculpture of your choice (60mm = 2.375" tall). Plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US address please add $7 for mailing

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    7 backers

    If you give me a hand at the $100 level I'll give you FIVE hands: Five Ascent mini-sculptures (60mm = 2.375" tall). Plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US address please add $7 for mailing

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    1 backer

    If you give me a big hand at the $200 level I'll give you a big hand: One Ascent sculpture (140mm = 5.75" tall) with a mini sculpture inside. Plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US address please add $10 for mailing

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  • Pledge $350 or more
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    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    If you give me a big hand at the $350 level I'll give you two big hands and a round of applause. TWO Ascent sculptures (140mm = 5.75" tall) each with a mini sculpture inside. Plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US address please add $15 for mailing

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  • Pledge $450 or more
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    If you are highly evolved and give me a super big hand at the $450 level I'll give you THREE big hands: Three Ascent sculptures (140mm = 5.75" tall) each with a mini sculpture inside. Plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US address please add $20 for mailing.

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  • Pledge $550 or more
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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    For those fully evolved supporters who participate at the $550 leveI I'll give you FOUR big hands: Four Ascent sculptures (140mm = 5.75" tall) each with a mini sculpture inside. Plus an Ascent Project digital image showing the evolution from analog to digital. Recognition on the project website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And of course Petey's everlasting love. Non-US address please add $40 for mailing.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    For these super supporters at the $100 level - a big round of applause - PLUS - Four signed Ascent small sculptures (145mm = 5.75" tall) each containing a mini-sculpture inside. PLUS a 145mm signed analog hand sculpture. Plus the digital image and special recognition on the AscentProject.net website. Invitations to all exhibitions of the Ascent Project. And extra big thanks from Petey.

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  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    SUPER DUPER SUPPORTERS receive a private visit to my studio complete with lunch and a tintype photograph of your hand. Plus Four signed Ascent small sculptures (145mm = 5.75" tall) each containing a mini-sculpture inside. Plus a 145mm signed analog hand sculpture. Plus the image and special recognition on the website. Petey will sit in your lap AND give you a big wet kiss.

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Funding period

- (40 days)