About this project
Visit the Northern Imagination website for more information about the project.
Why a statue of Nikola Tesla in the Silicon Valley?
Nikola Tesla is an under-recognized inventor who was instrumental to our mainstay system of electricity transfer (alternating current) and made hundreds of significant and groundbreaking inventions in areas of wireless energy, wireless communication, magnetism, radio, x-rays, cosmic rays, radar, robotics, engine-powered aircraft and much more.
Silicon Valley enjoys an elevated lifestyle derived from advancing the foundation Nikola Tesla helped lay. This project pays respect to the person who used his brilliance to advance society, not for personal wealth.
The Tesla Statue can inspire entrepreneurs - who come here from all over the world - to think similarly, especially on big topics like energy and wireless information transfer.
The free exchange of information and affordable access to sustainable energy have the potential to solve the critical issues of poverty and education, and inspire peace.
Watch this video about 3D printing Nikola Tesla and learn more why this project is relevant to Silicon Valley.
Some of the rewards offered for this project:
If you want to be involved in the project in any way please visit the Northern Imagination web site.
Inspiring bigger changes
Nikola Tesla was a visionary inventor who immigrated to the United States in 1884. Tesla poured all of his time, money and energy into the advancement of his inventions, caring little for the lure of financial outcomes. Wireless and energy remain two of the Silicon Valley's biggest opportunities.
The Tesla Statue will embody Tesla's belief in the power of the creative spirit and will inspire entrepreneurs living here and those who visit from around the world to think creatively about humanity's greatest challenges.
“To know each other we must reach beyond the sphere of our sense perceptions. We must transmit our intelligence, travel, transport the materials and transfer the energies necessary for our existence.” - Nikola Tesla, 1905
What did Nikola Tesla accomplish?
Nikola Tesla is credited with the most significant contributions to the alternating current electricity system which we all now rely on every minute of every day. Tesla also made hundreds of significant and groundbreaking inventions in areas of wireless energy, wireless communication, magnetism, radio, x-rays, cosmic rays, radar, robotics, engine-powered aircraft and much more. In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States gave priority to Tesla’s radio patents over Marconi’s.
Tesla’s inability to sustain substantial personal wealth from his inventions should not be confused with a lack of commercialization or financial success. In 1888 Tesla struck a deal for his alternating current and induction motor patents with Westinghouse, valued at $24 million cash in today's dollars plus a rich royalty; he agreed to tear up the royalty contract ten years later to aid the near bankrupt Westinghouse. Around the same time, Thomas Edison lost ownership of the electric company that he started to financiers who did not show the same mercy as Tesla.
Tesla was a visionary who thought beyond the profits of wire and sought to make energy and information freely available around the world. Tesla remained respected and very popular throughout his lifetime, gracing the cover of Time Magazine at age 75 and receiving reporters regularly for press conferences.
You can learn more about Tesla by visiting the following sites:
"All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life." - Nikola Tesla, 1927
How did the idea for the Tesla Statue originate?
Dorrian Porter founded Northern Imagination in February to pursue creative ideas and projects after spending twelve years selling software. He learned about Tesla four years ago and was astonished by today's under appreciation of Tesla's incredible vision from over 100 years ago. After finishing his last gig, Dorrian approached Harold Hohbach, the landlord of the office building where Dorrian worked in Palo Alto, about putting the Tesla Statue in open view on Harold's property.
Harold began his career as an electrical engineer at Westinghouse in 1946 and worked as a patent attorney in the Silicon Valley for 50 years. Not only did Harold say yes to putting the Tesla Statue on his property, that same day he asked Dorrian to go meet with local artist Terry Guyer. Coincidentally, Terry's studio is located on Edison Way at the Edison Technology Park in Menlo Park, California. Terry was excited by the opportunity to build a statue of Tesla whom he has admired for many years.
"To my mind a work of art must embody, first, a noble idea born of this painful striving for dematerialization; second, its expression in beautiful form, and, third, something, however little, of the artist’s individuality." - Nikola Tesla, 1907
What progress has been made so far on the Tesla Statue?
Representation of Tesla: Based on extensive research, Dorrian and Terry worked closely to settle on an initial design to direct the creation of the statue. We discovered a range of photos and images that offer many different perspectives of the same historical figure. Tesla often enjoyed demonstrating wireless electricity involving a wirelessly charged bulb in the 1890s. As a result we chose to emphasize Tesla’s invention around wireless electricity due to the uniqueness of the invention, both then and now. We also thought it was important to convey his formal and thoughtful nature, and most importantly to ensure that the end result best reflects Tesla's likeness.
Maquette / Preliminary Model: Terry has finished a preliminary model of the Tesla Statue. We welcome feedback from backers of the Tesla Statue project which will be incorporated into creating the final and best recognition of Tesla. We are excited about the impact of crowdsourcing on the creative process itself and open to all ideas and suggestions.
Selection of Artworks Foundry: Dorrian and Terry visited and selected The Artworks Foundry in Berkeley, California to cast the statue using the lost-wax casting method. The Artworks Foundry is world renowned for its production and restoration of statues. Visiting the Artworks Foundry is an eye-opening experience into a purified setting of incredible skill, team-work and creativity.
Selection of location in Palo Alto: The Tesla Statue is proposed to be situated immediately after the off-ramp of Page Mill Road, one of Palo Alto's busiest streets, leading to California Avenue. This placement means it will be seen by thousands of passing automobiles and pedestrians every day. The area continues to see increased development for office space, especially for technology start-ups.
Passionate fans who want to do something cool for Tesla: YOU!
"When I understood the task, it was not with a resolve such as men often make. With me it was a sacred vow, a question of life and death. I knew that I would perish if I failed." - Nikola Tesla, 1919
Why are you raising so much money? This is about creativity.
Sculpting, casting in bronze using the lost-wax method, installing and maintaining a life size statue is a significant project. We have also selected rewards that we believe are reflective of Tesla's greatness and will be meaningful to backers of the project. Here is the math on the project’s estimated financials at goal:
Artist-time, lost wax casting, installation - $67,000
Real-estate, maintenance and cost recovery to this stage - $15,000
Cost of goods for the rewards including fulfillment - $29,000
Kickstarter / Amazon fees - $12,000
Total = $123,000
“Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.” - Nikola Tesla, 1937
The music in the video is Molitva (instrumental version) written and produced by Vladimir Graic and licensed by Highball Music GmbH.
Molitva is sung by Serbian singer Marija Serifovic. It was the winning song of the 2007 EuroVision Song Contest. You can find Molitva on iTunes:
"Light cannot be anything else but a longitudinal disturbance in the ether, involving alternate compressions and rarefactions. In other words, light can be nothing else than a sound wave in the ether." Nikola Tesla, 1934
Risks and challenges
Managing and executing the statue-making process on time: The process from final maquette to life-size bronze casted statue using the lost-wax method can take six months. Visiting the Artworks Foundry to see bronze casting in action illustrated the incredible hard and detailed work involved in statue making. Once the initial model is finalized we will still want to ensure sufficient time with the full-size version to get accurate detail and texture, and we will not be in control of the lost-wax casting process once it begins. We have selected a foundry with a fantastic reputation with a commitment to quality and delivery. We have chosen a delivery date we believe is reasonable in consultation with all of the people involved.
Funding and fulfillment of rewards: We have chosen a wide selection of rewards and have sought high quality items. We have not seen preliminary models of any rewards (other than similar items). We know that fulfillment will require commitment to quality and a timetable that meets expectations. We will ensure we recruit the help we need to fulfill every reward on time if we have a successful project. We are unsure of the mix of rewards that will be requested (for example if only ten magnetized statues are selected vs. one-hundred) and how that will affect our fulfillment. We have however specifically chosen rewards we believe we can fulfill regardless of quantity.
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. Working with Harold Hohbach, Northern Imagination will ensure the maintenance exists in the initial period. In addition, in the long term Dorrian Porter is personally committed to the maintenance (and if necessary re-location) of the Tesla Statue. We are researching best ways to mitigate unforeseen or intentional damage.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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