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if a scientist-turned-artist wrote an illustrated guide to philosophical apparatus used to investigate how thinking shapes culture.
if a scientist-turned-artist wrote an illustrated guide to philosophical apparatus used to investigate how thinking shapes culture.
169 backers pledged $4,163 to help bring this project to life.

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Since long before I could clearly articulate why, I've been on a quest to elucidate the relationships between art and science – i was just following a hunch that it needed to be done. As a kid in school it never made much sense to me that each subject was presented separately, as if it existed in total isolation. Learning was always most exciting when I could catch a glimpse of the big picture, and gain an understanding of how things are interrelated.

It seemed to me that one way to situate myself at the intersection of art and science would be to become a scientific illustrator. I decided to study science first, earning a degree in marine biology. I then went on to work as a laboratory assistant while studying illustration. While I had imagined that as an illustrator I'd mostly be making scientific concepts accessible to a non-academic audience, what actually happened is that I began making pieces for my fellow scientists about the wondrous, mysterious, intangible parts of our work  – the parts of science that are not implicitly scientific. I was reluctant at first to call myself an artist – but lacking the will to strive towards an objective, detached, emotional distance from the subjects of my research, I could no longer go on purporting to be a scientist.

In the meanwhile, it was becoming increasingly obvious that relentless exploitation of the features and creatures of planet earth by humans is not sustainable. I started to see a relationship between the habitual separation of disciplines and the common human perception of ourselves as separate from one another and the biosphere. I formulated a hypothesis that, if we could begin thinking differently, we could begin existing differently – more constructively – in the world.

My work was taking a turn towards the philosophical. I began making objects that could be used as jumping-off points for discussion and action. These objects are not traditional works of art, per se – they don't make much sense as autonomous objects for contemplation in and of themselves. Like the disciplines I have been striving to weave together, they are most meaningful in relation to one another.

That is what this book is about...

it is about the stories behind the objects – philosophical implements – I have come to call PHILOSPROPS, about the kind of thinking that went into their creation, and about our potential as human beings to engage our individual senses of creativity and imagination in order to craft the healthiest and most harmonious possible existence for all who find ourselves sharing a ride on this rare and finite Spaceship Earth.

This book is the culmination of two decades of research. By owning a copy of this book, you will, ostensibly, own an artist's entire body of work, in the sense that the associated objects are only secondary to the ideas. The 50+ black-and-white photographs and illustrations in this book serve as fine stand-ins for the originals (although if you are interested in those, many are available – please inquire with the gallery of Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert in NYC) – the intangible aspects are the far more significant part, and I would like them to be accessible to whomever may be interested.

While the writing, editing, and layout for PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE is nearing completion, I need help to finance the printing in a limited, 100-page black-and-white perfect-bound edition under the moniker Obvious Press. Once these initial hard copies have been disseminated, the book will continue to be available in digital form only.

The minimum goal of $1500 will enable me to have the book digitally printed (on 100% recycled paper) in an edition of 100 copies. The more optimal goal of $2500 would allow me to have the book offset printed in an edition of 250.

The basic content of this entire project can be found (for entirely free!) by perusing my website at alycesantoro.com. For samples of my written work in particular, please click the box marked delicate empiricist

Excerpts from PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE:

manifesto for the obvious international
manifesto for the obvious international
welcome to the dialectic revival
welcome to the dialectic revival

WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS BOOK:

Artists with a penchant for science; scientists with an artistic streak; environmentalists; social activists; communitarian anarchists; students engaged in interdisciplinary studies; people with vivid imaginations; those who believe that the cultivation of imagination is essential to the future health and well-being of life on planet Earth.

Risks and challenges

As far as complexity of projects that I have pulled off in the past are concerned, this one is about a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the least complex (it's definitely a 10 on the exciting scale, however). Most of the work is finished – although, admittedly, knowing when to simply call it complete is a challenge. The biggest obstacle at this point could be that the ecologically-minded printer of choice is, for unforeseen reasons, unable to do the job, in which case I would need to find another planet-conscious printer. While this may pose an inconvenience, I can assure you that I would remain undeterred. I am unstoppable.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About $5

    Everyone who makes a pledge of $5 or over will receive a link to download the complete 100-page PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE in digital form!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You will receive a signed and numbered perfect-bound copy of the limited-edition 100-page PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE printed in the US on 100% recycled paper.

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    You will receive a signed and numbered perfect-bound copy of the limited edition 100-page PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE printed in the US on 100% recycled paper accompanied by a bookmark made of SONIC FABRIC (woven from cassette tape) and assorted ephemera.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    For radical bookstores, museum shops, galleries, collectors, interdisciplinary educational institutions, and gift-givers: FIVE signed and numbered perfect-bound copies of PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE printed in the US on 100% recycled paper.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    For radical bookstores, museum shops, galleries, collectors, interdisciplinary educational institutions, and gift-givers: TEN signed and numbered perfect-bound copies of PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE printed on 100% recycled paper - keep all 10 copies, OR allow me to donate one or more to libraries &/or alternative educational institutions.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You will receive a signed and numbered perfect-bound copy of PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE printed in the US on 100% recycled paper along with a bookmark made of SONIC FABRIC (woven from cassette tape), a signed/numbered print of the UNIVERSAL RAISIN CAKE THEORY, PLUS an assortment of stickers, booklets, posters, and other PHILOSOPROPS chosen just for you!

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Funding period

- (24 days)