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What happens when we give artists the funding, time, and space to realize their vision, free of any restraints or caveats?
What happens when we give artists the funding, time, and space to realize their vision, free of any restraints or caveats?
What happens when we give artists the funding, time, and space to realize their vision, free of any restraints or caveats?
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351 backers pledged $29,292 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$29,292

351

The Lab is commissioning three ambitious art projects over the next year. Artists Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Dora García, and Brontez Purnell will receive between $25,000 - $75,000 each, keys to our space for up to ten weeks, the login for our website, and the option to revise every aspect of The Lab’s operations. We believe that if we give artists enough funding, time, and space to realize their vision, free of any restraints or caveats, the work they produce will change the way we experience the world.

We want the public to experience the ways that artists dismantle familiar systems of perception. Artists Gordon, García, and Purnell alternately engage with how sound and architecture frame hierarchies within public and private space, why mental idiosyncrasies are tied to acts of civil disobedience, and what is canonized or erased from our cultural memory. We want to know how far they can take that inquiry and how much we can bend to make the project of art possible on every level. What happens when their work conflicts with the way that we operate The Lab? How do we make visible the limits of our freedom? 

Why is this important?

We think that great art should re-organize us, not the other way around. True to our name, we want to give artists complete license to take risks and push the boundaries of their practice, allowing them to transform and change The Lab with each new project. To this end, we seek out artists who challenge conventional value systems and whose work is often underfunded as a result. This campaign is part of an ongoing effort to empower artists to realize ambitious ideas and to invite the public in on that process.

 Who are our artists?

In October, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon will explore how sound affects emotion. Her installation will incorporate modular architecture, directional sound systems, and webcams that invite the public, as well as professional dancers and sound artists, to manipulate perceptions of space, sound, and authorship.

In November, Dora García will transform The Lab into The Hearing Voices Café. The working cafe will also produce a newspaper and a radio station, with research into psychiatry-related resistance, civil rights movements, and relationships between language, mental idiosyncrasies, literature, capitalism, and art.

In February and March of 2017, Brontez Purnell will produce a documentary film, host public movement workshops, stage guerilla dance performances, and initiate a community-generated archive, all investigating the legacy of choreographer Ed Mock.

What is The Lab?

The Lab is a radical space that seeks to diversify and expand the stories that art tells, rather than simply canonizing them. Our programming runs the gamut of creative expression, from avant-garde literature and performance, to dance, experimental music, and cutting-edge visual art. The Lab is a constantly revised document, a living, breathing entity, and our audience is an essential component of that experience. The Lab has been described as a "haven for the city's experimental performance scene" (New York Times) and “a radical venue dedicated to experimental work” (Wall Street Journal).

With this Kickstarter, we have two major aims:

  • To produce groundbreaking projects that would be impossible to mount in a traditional institution.
  • To provide artists with a living wage. The Lab will pay nearly $100K in artist fees in this year alone, and it is currently one of only 24 W.A.G.E. Certified organizations in the United States.

During our last fundraising campaign in 2014, commitments from nearly 600 backers helped us “Build The Lab,” returning our space—originally San Francisco’s Labor Temple—to its original ethos and aesthetic 100 years after its founding. Through this massive excavation and re-visioning, The Lab raised over $54,000, which in turn enabled 8,200 individuals to experience over 78 projects in 2015.

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 Why Kickstarter?

Complicity! We want you to be a part of this experiment. The US government currently spends $146 million of its $3.8 trillion budget on culture, a miserly sum by any other G7 nation’s standards. That’s our collective happiness getting the short shrift, so we encourage you to take full advantage of your first amendment rights—and our tax right off—to let Uncle Sam know that we deserve better. In return, you’ll learn how we’ve gotten here and you’ll see firsthand what makes these projects special, and, of course, you’ll be getting some pretty amazing stuff from us and our exceedingly generous community of artists and friends.

Why right now?

We need to change how great art gets funded. Over the past five years, 25% of San Francisco’s nonprofit organizations, along with untold numbers of artists, have been forced to leave the city due to skyrocketing rents. The character of a great city is shaped by its artist communities, and ours is shrinking by the minute. The bulk of what arts funding remains goes primarily to larger institutions that cater to established tastes. While these institutions play an important role in the cultural ecosystem, our mission at The Lab is to support artists whose practice is not easily or often monetized, and to cultivate audiences who are looking for a more radical engagement with art’s possibilities. These artists not only need our support, but they want to know that we are invested in the project of art.

What will your contributions support?

Artist fees. With your help, these extraordinary artists will be able to do the kind of work in San Francisco that they could not do otherwise. Your contributions mean that they can experiment without restrictions, allowing them to create work that upends our ordinary experience of the world.

Rewards

Kembra Pfahler photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk
Kembra Pfahler photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk
Pledge $25 or more for BODY MUSIC: A downloadable video by Charlemagne Palestine
Pledge $25 or more for BODY MUSIC: A downloadable video by Charlemagne Palestine
Pledge $40 or more for TOTES
Pledge $40 or more for TOTES
Pledge $75 or more for LAS SUCIAS LP
Pledge $75 or more for LAS SUCIAS LP
Pledge $90 or more for BRAIN PICKING
Pledge $90 or more for BRAIN PICKING
Pledge $200 or more to TAG THE CREEPY BATHROOM
Pledge $200 or more to TAG THE CREEPY BATHROOM
Pledge $550 or more for PERFORMANCE 101 WITH KEMBRA PFAHLER
Pledge $550 or more for PERFORMANCE 101 WITH KEMBRA PFAHLER
Pledge $600 or more for STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHS WITH JADER
Pledge $600 or more for STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHS WITH JADER
Pledge $800 or more for MEGA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE
Pledge $800 or more for MEGA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE
Pledge $1,800 or more for a TOTAL TAKEOVER
Pledge $1,800 or more for a TOTAL TAKEOVER
Kembra Pfahler and Annie Sprinkle: Kembra from the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, 1994 / 2016; three-dimensional lenticular triptych, includes three 12 x 8 in. prints, unmounted; edition of 6 signed by the artists. $3,000.
Kembra Pfahler and Annie Sprinkle: Kembra from the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, 1994 / 2016; three-dimensional lenticular triptych, includes three 12 x 8 in. prints, unmounted; edition of 6 signed by the artists. $3,000.
James Sterling Pitt: Sandias, May 1, 2013 – May 3, 2013; approximately 24 x 20 x 2.5 in. with a custom shelf; courtesy of the artist. $5,500.
James Sterling Pitt: Sandias, May 1, 2013 – May 3, 2013; approximately 24 x 20 x 2.5 in. with a custom shelf; courtesy of the artist. $5,500.
Pledge $10,000 or more to TITLE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Pledge $10,000 or more to TITLE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Thank you from your friends at The Lab,

Director: Dena Beard
; Special Projects Manager: Jackie Clay; 
Board of Directors: Al McElrath, Perrin Meyer, Alan Millar, Benjamin Petrosky, Jessica Shaefer, Vikki Tobak, Shari Wilk
; Technicians: Joshua Brooks, Michael Goldwater, Anthony A. Russell; Video Editor: Anthony A. Russell; Project Designer: George Carpenter; Photos and Videos of Kembra Pfahler: Walter Wlodarczyk

Risks and challenges

The Lab has been around for 30 years and has hosted countless projects, so we’re well-seasoned at helping artists produce ambitious projects. Since 2014, we’ve made some remarkable changes to our infrastructure, allowing us to remain accountable to our artists and funders while operating with an incredibly small staff. However, we’re still susceptible to the same threats that have displaced so many in San Francisco: rent-hikes, eviction, noise-complaints, funding cuts, and the rapid diminishing of our community of artists. Yet, as one of the last remaining experimental art spaces in a city once known for its experimental art spaces, you better believe that we are fierce survivors and innovative problem solvers.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    PERFORMANCE EVENT WITH KEMBRA PFAHLER

    Inspired by the artist Kembra Pfahler’s practice of availabism, “making the best use of what’s available,” if we reach our campaign goal we will turn The Lab over to all of our backers on May 28th. We’ve invited Pfahler herself to be in residence during the entire month of May, where she’ll be offering her legendary Performance 101 workshop, transforming The Lab into a surreal “Manual of Action” through her core tenets of Availabism, Beautalism, and Antinaturalism. The madness will culminate with a performance event on May 28th unlike any other, created especially for our backers at every level. Hosted by Kembra and her brother Adam (formerly of the band Jawbreaker), in the words of Nick Zedd/Orion Jeriko this event promises “blood, shame, pain and ecstasy, the likes of which no one has yet imagined. None shall emerge unscathed!”

    NOTE: A ticket to the May 28th performance event will be included at all reward levels.

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    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    INSTANT VALIDATION

    A shout-out on The Lab’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and a super-sweet tax-deduction. Thankfully, Uncle Sam cuts us a break in this area, so pledges at any level for this campaign are tax-deductible.

    NOTE: This will also be included at all reward levels above $5.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    .GIFt!

    We will send you a piece of .GIF animated magic courtesy of an artist that was super happy to get a paycheck.

    NOTE: This will also be included at all reward levels above $10.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    BODY MUSIC

    A downloadable video by Charlemagne Palestine, created especially for The Lab.

    NOTE: This will also be included at all reward levels above $25.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    ACOUSTIC DECONSTRUCTION LP

    As the former home of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2626 Bancroft Way is acoustically exceptional in ways that cannot be measured or reproduced. A Brutalist masterpiece, the building was shuttered on December 21, 2014 and its future is uncertain at this time. With established and brave new techniques, Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon and Zackery Belanger collected a representation of its acoustic soul, interpreted here by artists Ingrid Lee, Matt Ingalls, and Maggie Payne. This is the first publication on The Lab's new label. Shipping is included and will follow the initial shipment of pre-orders of the record made in December 2014.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    TOTES

    We know your locally-sourced veggies want to be as edgy as your imported vinyl, and The Lab’s got a great bag that can tote them all.

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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP

    Join us. One complimentary ticket for any event priced $10 and below + other special members-only perks for a year!

    NOTE: Membership to The Lab included with all reward levels above $60.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    LAS SUCIAS LP

    A vinyl record by the spectacular Oakland artist duo, recorded at The Lab (U.S. shipping included).

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    Pledge US$ 90 or more About US$ 90

    BRAIN PICKING

    You asked for it, she's listening: a 30-minute phone call with our Executive Director Dena Beard.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    PARTNER MEMBERSHIP

    TWO complimentary tickets for any event priced $10 and below + other special members-only perks for a year + TWO tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP

    Get intimate with the Las Sucias LP + The Lab’s tote bag (U.S. shipping included) + Partner Membership + TWO tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    TAG THE CREEPY BATHROOM

    Join graffiti history–you (or we) can add your moniker to the walls of The Lab’s creepy secret bathroom. A living archive, the bathroom includes the tags of Margaret Kilgallen, Barry McGee, Ruby Neri, Alicia McCarthy, Krink, and many more + Partner Membership + TWO tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    SPONSOR MEMBERSHIP

    Complimentary admission for one to a full year of events at The Lab + a ticket to attend a VIP event before the May 28th performance with Kembra Pfahler.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    COLLECTOR MEMBERSHIP

    Complimentary admission for TWO to a full year of events at The Lab + TWO tickets to attend a VIP event before the May 28th performance with Kembra Pfahler.

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    Pledge US$ 550 or more About US$ 550

    PERFORMANCE 101 WITH KEMBRA PFAHLER

    A four-unit course held at The Lab on Monday evenings in May, culminating in a live performance piece. Performance Art 101 introduces three basic techniques: “availabism” – making the best use of what’s available; “gothleticism” – an urban outdoor DIY workout routine; and “anti-naturalism” – which, similiarly to Wabi-Sabi, centers upon on acceptance of transience and imperfection. The ultimate goal of Performance Art 101 is to create beauty out of debris. Pfahler has taught this course at Columbia University, NYU, UC San Diego, and Cal Arts + TWO additional guest tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHS WITH JADER

    A unique portrait sitting for one with the extraordinary Jader. Specializing in “theatric portraiture that channels the romantic kitsch of Pierre et Gilles, the creepy character development of Cindy Sherman, and the pop sensibility of David LaChapelle” (East Bay Express), Jader will transform you into the stuff of anti-naturalist fantasies. www.jadervision.com

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    Pledge US$ 800 or more About US$ 800

    MEGA MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE

    Annual memberships for TWO to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Southern Exposure, Headlands Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SFJazz, Frameline, San Francisco Cinematheque, and The Lab + TWO tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 900 or more About US$ 900

    HOST YOUR OWN

    We will give you The Lab's space (and our premium Meyer Sound system) for four exclusive hours when we aren't previously booked + Partner Membership + TWO tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    PATRON MEMBERSHIP

    Complimentary admission for FOUR to a full year of events + FOUR tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 1,800 or more About US$ 1,800

    TOTAL TAKEOVER

    We will give you The Lab's space (and our premium Meyer Sound system) for eight glorious hours when we aren't previously booked + Partner Membership + FOUR tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    KEMBRA PFAHLER AND ANNIE SPRINKLE LIMITED EDITION LENTICULAR TRIPTYCH

    Kembra Pfahler and Annie Sprinkle: Kembra from the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, 1994 / 2016; three-dimensional lenticular triptych, includes three 12 x 8 in. prints, unmounted; edition of 6 signed by the artists. + Partner Membership + FOUR tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    SPONSOR A PROJECT

    Get exclusive access to our artists, two tickets to our twice-yearly salon dinners, and recognition on our website and publication materials + Patron Membership + FOUR tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge $5,500 or more About $5,500

    SCULPTURE BY JAMES STERLING PITT

    James Sterling Pitt: Sandias, May 1, 2013 – May 3, 2013; approximately 24 x 20 x 2.5 in. with a custom shelf; courtesy of the artist.+ Partner Membership + FOUR tickets to the May 28th performance.

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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    TITLE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    For one year, the Executive Director of The Lab will be titled with the designation of your choosing. "Janitor of Capp Street" or "Curator of San Francisco's Wombat Army," for instance. With such power come great rewards: private visits with artists and collectors, a space rental, and plenty of special treatment presumably relating to public relations problems. We’re up for it, are you? Includes Patron Membership + two tickets to our twice-yearly salon dinners, and recognition on our website and publication materials.

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Funding period

- (28 days)