The Circus for Construction is an event platform for collecting, constructing, and curating — located on the back of a traveling truck. It's a circus for architecture!
In May, we won a competition held by Storefront for Art & Architecture to create "simultaneous, multi-locus of alternative spaces around the globe ... for the expression and exchange of latent desires within contemporary art and architecture practices."
We thought: what better way to spread the gospel of design than to liberate it from its brick-and-mortar foundations and take it on the road? We want to spend this summer building a custom semi- trailer that will unfold into space for temporary exhibitions, lectures and workshops during Fall 2014 in various cities on the eastern seaboard. The circus will travel to five locations over the course of two months (Provincetown, Providence, Ithaca, Buffalo, Portland, and docking in Boston). Circus for Construction is an alternative and experimental gallery space, like a food truck which serves up each city's unique brand of art & design. The focus of events will highlight local expertise and regional talent: say, a workshop from a local craftsman or lecture from a visiting architect. It will also bring that knowledge on the road to share with the next stop. We’ll serve cold beer out of the back!
Modeled after the nostalgic traveling carnival, the Circus for Construction will challenge existing ideas about where 'museums' or 'lecture halls' reside. We really need your help to make this come true. Run away with us and join the circus. We'll make this truck a reality!
UPDATE - We've also launched CIRCUSTV. If you can't join us on the road, enjoy and learn from all the Circus events, lectures and workshops from the comfort of your couch through streaming video and audio on the grand ol' Internets.
We've reached our original goal of $10,000! Thank you to all our supporters. Now, for our stretch goals — help us go the extra mile!
ANYONE WHO DONATES $15 IN OUR FINAL WEEK RECEIVES A ONE OF A KIND, LIMITED EDITION 18"x24" CIRCUS LECTURE POSTER!
Circus in the News!
"Mobility, accessibility, and flexibility will define both the physical structure and conceptual shape of this ambitious project, as it hopes to help shift the locus of architectural education and discourse and reshape ideas about where art-making, exhibition-viewing, and learning can occur." — Honora Shea, Architizer
"Instead of a traditional brick-and-mortar venue, the traveling showcase allows the team to be dynamic with their presentations and incorporate the local brand and specialities of each place" — Erik Douds, The Architect's Newspaper
"The project challenges the idea that artwork needs to be sought out by the viewer, shaking up stereotypes about what a gallery is supposed to be." — Jennifer Whelan, ArchDaily
"Kickstart This! Archinect's Kickstarter picks for June 2014" — Justine Testado, Archinect
"Circus for Construction embodies Boston's substantial commitment to art and design, one that's been renewed as of late and has helped spur a public art renaissance not just downtown or in Boston's traditionally art-centric communities, but throughout all of its neighborhoods" — Nick DeLuca, BostInno
Parent Institution: Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012. (Unfamiliar with Storefront and the great kind of work it does? Check it out here or visit in person!)
Dates of travel: September 19 - November 21, 2014
Cities to Visit: Boston, MA; Provincetown, MA; Providence, RI; Buffalo, NY; Ithaca, NY; Portland, ME.
Possible Events (Scheduling Currently Underway!): Sharing and collecting of local expertise in the form of lectures, workshops, exhibitions, events, and gatherings. We've lined up a schedule of our dream agenda and are currently in the process of discussing and soliciting local groups. We'll be updating a calendar here as we lock down dates! Purchasing any reward with a Circus All Season Pass will grant you access to any event on the 2014 circuit.
Interested in participating in the Circus with your own act, event, or party? Check out our $500 and up rewards with your group or institution.
What Your Contribution Funds: We need your help to buy a used 30' long goose-neck truck trailer, and the simple construction materials. Your funding will also help us pay for parking + (limited) permitting at individual cities. As architects and designers, we've worked together on building exhibitions and installations so we'll do the labor ourselves (for free).
How It's Built: (UPDATE 7/21) We've settled on a specific gooseneck trailer and designed our Swiss Army knife truck to match. We've updated our design to have a structural wood-framed shell which will support all the other elements: its designed with a little flair which keeps the loading on the trailer axles. We're looking at an aluminum frame for the inside box, sheathed in low-cost but durable polycarbonate panels, which will be lit up at night with LEDs. The outer facade will comprise operable plywood panels with heavy-duty banners which unfurl to provide outdoor space.
Why You Should Help: You love the circus. You're a believer in the power of design. You live in one of our 5 event cities and want to come to a party. Or — most of all — you believe in supporting new spaces and places for the discussion and experience of art and architecture.
Juggler - $10 and up
Don't have much to spend, but want to help the cause? Donate just $10 and you'll receive exclusive backer updates with the behind the scenes scoop throughout the construction process!
Stilt Walker - $25 and up
You will be mailed a limited edition postcard designed and signed by every member of the Circus team. The postcard will be mailed from the city of your choice (Boston, Ithaca, Buffalo, Providence, or Portland).
Trapeze Artist - $50 and up
You will be mailed five limited edition postcards from each of the cities that the Circus for Construction travels to. The postcards will be designed for each city and signed by every member of the Circus team. You will also be the bearer of a Circus All Season Pass! This pass will allow you entrance to any ticketed events throughout the travel circuit in Fall 2014.
Snake Charmer - $75 and up
UPDATED! Want to join the Circus but can't make it to our events? Receive exclusive video access to CIRCUSTV featuring video of events, lectures + workshops. You will receive also custom Circus for Construction tote bag!
Ringmaster - $100 and up
We're looking for 100 significant and unique sponsors to join the Circus. In addition to receiving exclusive backer updates, a tote bag, and all five limited edition postcards, we will etch your name as a sponsor into the facade of our truck! Watch the name of your firm, company, friends or family travel the US with the Circus to high-visibility events and institutions. You'll also receive a Circus All Season Pass.
Tightrope Walker - $500 and up
Your opinion matters! In addition to receiving all of the rewards listed above, you will be part of an exclusive Advisory Board that has opportunity to vote on event and exhibition opportunities for the Circus for Construction. Join the curating process and help decide on the agenda for the inaugural tour of our event space. You'll also receive Circus All Season Passes for you and 5 friends.
Fire Breather - $1000
We will integrate your work or services into one of our Circus events! You will have the chance to showcase and share your skills in either Boston, Ithaca, Buffalo, Providence, or Portland. This would be a great reward if you’re a business, institution, design collective, or other group looking for an alternative and exciting platform at which to share your event.
Contortionist - $2,500 and up
We will throw you a party at the Circus for Construction for an event of your choice! Our truck is the ultimate party venue, choose one night to host an exclusive party on our custom 30' truck trailer. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Imagine this as a great setting for your exhibition opening, birthday party, circus themed wedding, or beginning of the semester kick-off.
See our STRETCH GOALS at the top of the page to help us go the extra mile!
The Spectacle Syndicate is a design collective comprising five architects: Ann Lui, Larisa Ovalles, Craig Reschke, Ben Widger, and Ashley Mendelsohn. We're Cornell University trained friends and collaborators based in Cambridge who love art, architecture and want to share design with the world through unexpected and exciting new mediums.
Collectively we represent backgrounds in curating, construction, architectural and urban design, history and theory, and engineering. Three years ago we were sharing beers and drawing exquisite corpses on napkins in Ithaca. Now we're graduate students at Harvard, MIT and practicing designers at Boston firms. We're young and hungry and excited about this project — let's make it a reality together!
Follow us on Twitter for shout outs and updates.
Fabrication + Construction Partner
The Circus for Construction is generously supported by Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning, where four of these circus clowns (first) learned to dream big.
Risks and challenges
We believe the biggest challenge in this project is finding the funds to support the construction of the truck trailer. That's why we're here on Kickstarter!
Along the way, we may also face challenges with the design and construction of the truck trailer. However, our team has worked together on the creation of exhibitions and installations at 40 Kirkland Gallery at Harvard (run by a Circus team member), Cornell University, University of Tennessee and MIT as well as individually on house renovations and art & architectural design at all scales. We believe that we'll be able to work out intelligent and pro-active design solutions to problems which may arise. We also have a great team of mentors at Storefront for Art & Architecture with a huge reserve of expertise to help guide us through tough patches.
We may also run into issues with scheduling and what curators call "programming" — finding the right events, individuals and groups to present at the Circus truck. We believe however that we will be able to create the right agenda by looking in untapped locations, networking through our friends and colleagues in this city, and from suggestions and ideas provided through the Kickstarter community.
Your generous contributions are going to help make this a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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