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Season 4 of the award-winning radio show about design, architecture and the 99% Invisible activity that shapes our world.
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11,693 backers pledged $375,193 to help bring this project to life.

99% Invisible as a way to view the world

Posted by PRX, Inc (Creator)

We have health care coverage. We have the funds for a new in-house producer. We have the greatest audience in the world.

Our most essential goal is 10,000 backers. If you've been following along (you know who you are), it's been a fantastic couple of days for the campaign. We have fewer than 3200 backers to go! Please keep spreading the word and encouraging people to donate as little as $1, so we can get that $20,000 challenge grant from MailChimp. MailChimp will donate directly to the Kickstarter, so be sure to keep checking back as we reach the end, and we can all watch the total jump together.

It’s time for Stretch Goal #3.

After I started producing the show, I immediately noticed that people began talking about 99% Invisible as more than a radio show. The worldview of the program began to change the way the listeners were viewing the world. As the creator, it even had this effect on me. I began to notice and appreciate everything more. I stopped to smell the concrete, so to speak. I also began to take photos of everything: sidewalk stamps, utility markings, manhole covers, and, of course, plaques. 99% Invisible listeners were inspired to do the same. Through Twitter and Facebook, I constantly get snapshots of plimsoll lines, skate stoppers, and small bits of genius in the built world.

Last year, I met this brilliant photographer called Kate Joyce at the Third Coast International Audio Festival. She handed me a packet of beautiful photographs that were inspired by 99% Invisible episodes. Some were literal interpretations of the subjects; some were more abstract interpretations of the themes. They were all stunning. She proposed becoming the 99% Invisible “Image Correspondent.” I loved the idea, but we’ve never been able to make it work financially for the show.

Stretch goal #3 combines both of these ideas. We are calling the project “Now You See It.” Our intent is to create a public dialogue with the project, offering our listeners a new way to interact with 99% Invisible, as well as their own immediate environment. We will create photo assignments and get people out in the world engaging with the built environment like they never have before. The images will have their own editorial arc and play on themes that surface in our shows and lead us to new shows. Kate Joyce will serve both as “Image Correspondent” (creating her own images) and act as the visual editor for photographs submitted by the audience. Also, the listener-photographers will give us story assignments based on their explorations. It’s the next step in turning 99% Invisible from a radio show into a lens for viewing the world.

Stretch Goal #3

Over $265,000- Greenlight the “Now You See It” photography project. We’re going to create a global community of people more engaged with the world through 99% Invisible.

Funds will be used to commission original photography, pay for the editorial oversight, add technical functionality to the website, and license selected pictures from the public.

I’m really excited about this project because it came to us from the listeners and is a natural extension of our mission at 99% Invisible. It creates a richer and more active dialogue that can inform to stories we do in the future. Plus, this enrichment doesn’t come at the expense of regular radio production. It will make us better. I can’t wait to build this with your help.




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    1. Mara Zepeda on

      This development is THRILLING! What better way to make the invisible visible than through sound AND vision? Thank you!

    2. Brian Giese on

      Using iBooks Author to create iBook versions of each episode or season might be a need addition down the road.

    3. Jacob Patton on

      What a great idea! It'd be great if your web-team could offer the photos over API, too – I'm sure folks would do neat things if they could remix the photos, put 'em on maps, etc.

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      Chris Borger on

      You just allowed me to drop emails to a few more friends that are amateur (and pro) photographers who would love to have something like this to contribute to!

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      DrWex on

      I would love it if you produced an illustrated audiobook. I think the combination of audio and photography can be very powerful and would make a great tangible artifact.