The Patron Saint of Freethinking ... Fearless in the Face of Dogma ... The Martyr of Science ... Let's build a monument of these ideas - a statue of Giordano Bruno along the Venice Beach Boardwalk in California to tell the freethinker's story to millions of people!
First things first. Who is Giordano Bruno?
The latest Cosmos series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson opened with a segment devoted to Giordano Bruno (1548 -1600), philosopher, mathematician, and cosmological theorist. Bruno opened the door for freethinkers and future scientists. Before Galileo first used his telescope, Bruno understood that the Sun was one of many stars and the Earth was one of many planets.
Bruno's ideas did not sit well with Catholic dogma, which insisted the Earth was the center of Creation. He remained defiant, believing the God of the Church was too small for this vast Universe. For this, Bruno was burned alive for heresy.
Throughout his life, Giordano Bruno relentlessly stood by his convictions, despite frequent censoring by the Catholic Inquisition. Upon his conviction as a heretic, he famously declared to the 'god-fearing' judges that, “you who pronounce my sentence are in greater fear than I who receive it.” As freethinkers today, we owe our freedoms to Giordano Bruno's sacrifice more than 400 years ago.
From Venice, Italy to Venice Beach, California
Every year, at the anniversary of Bruno’s execution, various groups of freethinkers — Masons, atheists, pantheists — gather at the beautiful statue of Giordano Bruno in Rome, Italy, created by Ettore Ferrari in 1889. A representative of Rome's mayoralty places a wreath at its feet.
That got us thinking: Why don’t we have a monument to freethinking in one of the most freethinking places in the country? We even have the ideal spot for the statue: Adjacent to the "Luminaries of Pantheism" mural featuring the great thinkers of history. It’s along the world-famous Venice Beach Boardwalk, which means it will be seen by millions of people each year. There's even a bit of poetic justice in this location: Bruno's end came with his arrest in Venice, Italy. Now, we can bring his story 'back to life' in Venice, California.
The statue in Rome shows Bruno facing the Vatican in a very solemn pose -- as if he is defiantly waiting for an apology. We decided to honor that statue, but show him in a powerful teaching moment--because we’re still in a world that needs people like him. With an uplifting, confident stance, Bruno will implore onlookers to see a bigger picture. We also plan to light the statue at night, so that the moon he holds aloft shines day and night.
Rising above a 20 foot base, the 10 foot tall statue will be a beacon along the Boardwalk. By placing him in a location that sees so many visitors, we’ll have the opportunity to tell Bruno's story millions of times. And by giving out high-quality low-priced statuette rewards, we can tell his story to millions more. It’s a story that deserves to be heard: Being fearless in the face of anti-scientific dogma!
What is the budget for the statue?
Sculpting, rotocasting, bronze finishing, installing and maintaining a heroic-sized statue along an oceanfront is no small feat. We‘ve also spent a great deal of time developing rewards that we think you’ll love. Of course, all of this has a dollar value. Here’s our estimates for the cost of this project:
- Full-Scale 3D foam pattern (CNC-milled Polyurethane) - $14,000
- Sculptor supplies and discounted labor (Detailed clay coat over foam) - $5,000
- Silicone Mould and Mother Mould - $15,000
- Statue Casting and Finishing (Cold cast bronze, demoulding, trimming, bonding and seam finishing)- $21,000
- Delivery, Installation, & Site Preparation - $14,000
- Plaque Creation, Casting, and Finishing - $8,000
- Cost of Goods for the Rewards - $22,000
- Fulfillment - $8,000
- Marketing - $12,000
- Kickstarter / Payment Processing fees - $6,000
Total = $125,000 (Amount donated by The Paradise Project - $60,000)
Minimum Portion to be raised through Kickstarter = $65,000
Stretch Goals (If we raise more)
- Transport and Installation to Black Rock City, Nevada - $20,000
- Site Enhancement Work - $15,000
The signature reward is our 10" bronze-painted limited edition resin statuette, featuring 3 of Bruno's famous quotes on the base, and a magnetic hematite sphere that holds included stars and moons (available to all pledges over $59). The statuette ships to you in a beautifully designed shipping box with a protective foam insert. We're offering the statuette at a discounted price for one simple reason: more statues in more hands means his story is shared more often. But all the rewards are great! Have a look:
What progress has been made so far?
Over a year of artistry, detail and design have already gone into this project to make sure it's a success! During that time we’ve:
- Interviewed more than 40 sculptors, and narrowed it to Len Burge.
- Visited many production facilities and foundries, and selected TransFX.
- Conducted a contest with over 50 3D artists, and selected Pavlin Dimitrov.
- Spent 4 months perfecting a 3D model of the statue.
- Spent another month translating that model into a 10” tall statuette.
- Interviewed and narrowed our statuette production facilities to one in China.
- Sourced 3 vendors for the magnetic ball, the stars and moons, and the packaging.
- Had several statuette prototypes made.
- Sourced 2 local manufacturers for our T-shirts and bumper stickers.
- Created a website (brunostatue.com) and neighborhood mailers to support project funding.
Who Are We?
We are a non-profit (501c3) called The Paradise Project, aiming to increase overall thoughtfulness in our culture by celebrating science, nature, art, and non-dogmatic philosophy. The organization was founded and is chaired by Perry Rod, who holds a degree in philosophy from Georgetown University.
Spearheading the project is the organization’s Director, Charles Beebe. Charles is an architect by training (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), but a generalist at heart. He’s a patented inventor and successful home developer, web developer, furniture designer and artist.
Our 3D artist is the very talented Pavlin Dimitrov. Pavlin's B.A. (DePaul University) is in Computer Animation. He works as a gaming animator, but also has experience in 3D-printed toys and visualizations. The model Pavlin and Charles created will be used to create a rough casting of the 10 foot statue. It was also used to create the 10" statuette, our signature reward offered in this fundraiser.
Hands-on sculpting will be done by the incredibly-gifted Len Burge. Len has worked on movies like Jurassic Park, Terminator, Batman, and Star Trek. He has an eye for detail and the artistic skill to really bring ‘life’ to Bruno’s face, hands, and pose. As a freethinker who makes some pretty awesome science sculptures in his spare time, he’s the ideal choice for the Bruno monument!
Finally, casting will be completed by TransFX, a leading production company in Hollywood that regularly works with 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Studios. Being close to Hollywood has its advantages -- we were fortunate to choose from MANY great artists and facilities -- and we think we’ve found some of the best for this project!
Stretch Goal: Burning Man
One more thing! This past year, Perry (the chairman of our non-profit) attended his first Burning Man event, and came away realizing that the Bruno statue must travel to this amazingly creative temporary city before being permanently installed in Venice. Bruno's story is just too perfect not to share there!
Why? Because Bruno is a kindred spirit of "Burners." He dared to express his truth in a hostile environment - radical self-expression. Today, nearly 80,000 "Burners" (Burning Man attendees) share his passion for freethinking every year. But 400 years ago, Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake -- literally, he became a burning man -- to defend the right to freethinking. Telling his story to the thoughtful and creative people who gather at Burning Man is a perfect fit!
Risks and challenges
While we've done our best to mitigate the risks we know of, there are a few things that may present challenges. The first is timing. While we are already in possession of the 3D model that will form the “undercarriage” or base of the statue, the full-sized printing of the statue is dependent on the workload of the manufacturer at the time. This work availability also applies to the sculptor, who will be applying the thin coat of clay to the foam base to give the statue “life”. Once the clay detailed full-size pattern is complete, the casts (both a silicone master and plaster ‘mother’ mould) need to be formed. And then, of course, the cold cast bronze needs to be poured, released from the mold, trimmed, bonded, and finished. We anticipate this process will take at least 3 months from the time we receive funding. Because both the fabricators and sculptor are sought-after artists serving the Hollywood studios, we are confident their end-product will be exceptional. However, the demand for their services could potentially slow the project down. We have chosen a delivery date we believe is reasonable in consultation with all of the people involved.
Funding and fulfillment of rewards: We are limiting our mailed rewards to just 3 items that will be manufactured. By doing so, we aim to ensure you will receive your reward in a timely manner. As shown above, we have already gone through the lengthy process of reducing our full-sized 3D model to a 10” statuette, adding a modified engraved base and a magnet with stars and moons to Bruno’s upstretched hand. The vendors for all these parts were sourced and shipped to the statuette manufacturer in China, and the prototypes are in our possession. At this point, we are prepared to go into production with both the statuette, the T-shirt and the bumper stickers (which will be produced in Los Angeles). We have researched the process and are prepared to deal with reward fulfillment, understanding that it will require both a commitment of our time and a dedication to quality to meet our donors' expectations. Beyond this, the one potential challenge may be an increase in our costs due to levied Chinese tariffs by our federal government. We are monitoring the situation and will keep you all posted as we know more.
Ongoing maintenance: While we have an initial placement of the statue for at least five years (more likely ten years) the statue will need to be managed and maintained on an ongoing basis. As the statue will be placed on grounds owned by The Paradise Project, we are committed to maintaining Bruno for all the millions of visitors he will see each year!
- (60 days)