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A radically new approach to art and performance based on nearly 15 years of performances for one-person audiences.
A radically new approach to art and performance based on nearly 15 years of performances for one-person audiences.
A radically new approach to art and performance based on nearly 15 years of performances for one-person audiences.
408 backers pledged $36,903 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Odyssey Works: Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World

$36,903

408

STRETCH GOALS! NEW REWARD!

UPDATE: We met our goal with flying colors, and thanks to you our book will be published! Our most sincere thanks to all of you that have contributed to us so far. We are so grateful for every single dollar you have given, and it's fueled even bigger dreams. Now we want to fund a full Odyssey for one of you!

In order to do this we want to raise $50,000 total ($30k on top of our initial needs for the book). If—and only if—we meet this goal, everyone who contributes or has already contributed at the book level or higher (excluding the $10k level) will be invited to fill out the Odyssey Works questionnaire and apply to be our next participant. That means if you've given at the $35 level or higher, you could be the recipient of an Odyssey! It's an ambitious goal, but we want to be able to give a gift back to all of you to show our sincere gratitude.

"The idea is a beautiful inefficiency: a tiny but infinitely more affected audience...an Odyssey Works production doesn't scream 'art' so much as whisper it into the subconscious retroactively." - The New York Times: A WAKING DREAM MADE JUST FOR YOU

Dancers appeared out of nowhere in the subway for Rick Moody's performance in 2013; Photo: Elizabeth Eisenstein
Dancers appeared out of nowhere in the subway for Rick Moody's performance in 2013; Photo: Elizabeth Eisenstein

For nearly 15 years, Odyssey Works has been making massive, immersive performances for one-person audiences. Our team studies the life of one individual to create intimate, meaningful performances that last days, weeks, months and occur not on a stage but interwoven with the life of our audience of one.

An Odyssey can involve a trip to a mountain in Mexico to listen to a symphony in a canyon, being tied to a stake like Joan of Arc, a bus ride with your mother, making maps of emotion, a feast in the middle of a river, reading a forged Italo Calvino novel, or being buried alive.

The experiences are transformative - not just for the participants but for everyone involved. In fact, most of our participants change jobs, move, make new commitments to loved ones shortly after their Odysseys. Now we’re writing a book because we want everyone to be able to create life-changing experiences. This book is a guide for a radically new approach to art and performance in particular, and to creativity in general.

A scene from Carl Collins' Odyssey in 2012; Photo: Ayden LeRoux
A scene from Carl Collins' Odyssey in 2012; Photo: Ayden LeRoux

We believe that art can be meaningful. We believe that it can elevate the lives of everyone involved. We believe that every person in this world has the right to be brought to their knees by beauty, and we’ve dedicated our lives to figuring out how. This book is the culmination of our research.

Princeton Architectural Press is going to publish our book next year, and while it will be beautiful, we need your help to make our ambitious vision possible in these days when traditional publishing is challenged. Kickstarter is the perfect platform for our project, because it builds community and brings people together, just like our work does.

Building the More Beautiful World starts here. Join us.

Rewards

By contributing to our campaign, you will gain exclusive access to the world of Odyssey Works. We've made rewards that will give you a window into our work, whether it's an invitation to be an extra in our next performance, a copy of the book, an immersive workshop with us, a personal consultation on how to create your own meaningful experience for someone else, or an Odyssey. 

On top of these unparalleled opportunities, Odyssey Works is unveiling our latest project, the Library of Experiences, an online catalog with sets of instructions for creating experiences of wonder and beauty for yourself or others. It's our way of creating small Odysseys for you, our supporters. Anyone who contributes $50 or more, will be invited to fill out a brief questionnaire which will help us hand-pick an experience for you. Our aim with each and every reward is to bring together a community of people who create and share deeply moving experiences. 

This week we're adding a juicy new reward! For $500 you can now receive a limited edition collection of Odyssey Works' notorious forgeries. You'll receive copies of "If on a spring day a traveler" the sequel to Italo Calvino's famous title of a similar name, "The Typesetter's Apprentice", a manuscript allegedly written by Jorge Luis Borges but stolen by Xul Solar (learn more on Wikipedia), "The Secret Room" a children's book written under architect Lebbeus Woods' pen name, plus "Isolation and Amazement" a book about our 2012 production in New York, and our forthcoming book from PAP. It's the complete Odyssey Works Library.  

A Look Closer Inside the Book

Below are some mock-up designs we've made so far with design extraordinaire Sasha Wizansky. This book will be full-color, with lots of diagrams, stunning imagery, and insight into our performances and practice. 

Design concept page (not final)
Design concept page (not final)

 "Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World" presents our singular approaches to artmaking and performance and utilizes our decade and a half of experience as a guide for how to make meaning in the world everyday. This book is a handbook for artists and non-artists alike to make deeply meaningful and beautiful experiences in the world. 

Our book brings the artwork of Odyssey Works in conversation with the fields of immersive theater, experience design, and art pioneers, like Sleep No More, Marina Abramovic, and The Jejune Institute. We explore the role of empathy and intimacy, immersivity and interactivity, and experimental and interdisciplinary practices, as not only cornerstones to performance, but the heart of all human relationships.

Design concept page (not final)
Design concept page (not final)

We're incredibly excited about this material because though it's gaining popularity and interest, not much has been written about it. We want to shed light on how methods used in immersive performance and experience design actually deepen the relationship between artist and audience.

In "Six Proposals", we present the narratives of three different Odysseys, with corresponding images, diagrams, and documents. The book contains a thorough interview with the team conducted by author Rick Moody (our participant from 2013), as well as an exclusive short story written by Amy Hempel just for Odyssey Works. This material is at the forefront of the field and truly unique.

Design concept (not final)
Design concept (not final)

Featured Contributor

Rick Moody was the participant in the 2013 performance that forms the backbone of this book. Rick, who is the author of The Ice Storm and Garden State and much more, came to us through the open application process, sending in an application that we couldn't resist. 

After his Odyssey we asked if he wanted to write anything about his experience for the book and he said he wanted to turn the tables on usafter all the research we'd done into his life. So he interviewed all the members of the structure team. The interview, and his introduction, became a core part of the book.

Rick Moody and OW actors, 2013
Rick Moody and OW actors, 2013

Also, readers of his new novel, Hotels of North America, will find a chapter devoted to a fictional version of a scene from his Odyssey. We'll leave it to you to figure out which...

Breakdown of Finances:

We're very pleased that Princeton Architectural Press is going to publish our book in the Fall of 2016. They've demonstrated a commitment to making it the way we want it, with full color with lush photos and diagrams, but in order to cover costs we need to provide a production subsidy and presell 500 copies. We're raising money to cover these expenses and spread the word about what we do. 

Here's a breakdown of how we anticipate using your generous support:

Production Subsidy: This will cover the heightened cost of printing a full-color book.

500 Books: Immersive performance and experience design are still considered niche topics, so by selling books ahead of time we can generate some excitement around our content and connect with our audience before the book is out. 

Admin and Outreach: These funds will be used to finance the amazing rewards we will be giving you. Everything from shipping costs, production costs, and packing materials is included in this section.

Kickstarter and credit card fees: This covers Kickstarter's cut (5%) of what we fundraise, and an additional 3-5% in credit card processing fees.

Social Media:

To learn more, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or by reading our blog, where we interview some of the most brilliant minds working in immersive theater and experience design. To get updates, join our mailing list. <3

Rick Moody was taken on an unexpected journey to Saskatchewan as part of his Odyssey (Photo: Ayden LeRoux, Score: Travis Weller)
Rick Moody was taken on an unexpected journey to Saskatchewan as part of his Odyssey (Photo: Ayden LeRoux, Score: Travis Weller)

Press:

“The border between the quotidian and the performative became inapparent." -The Marina Abramovic Institute, Immaterial: When I Left the House it Was Still Dark

“[Odyssey Works hopes to create sweeping, awesome experiences for audiences, affecting them in ways that no normal art piece could." -Fast Company: DESIGNING FOR MISUSE

"Instead of a mediated mass experience measured by critics or box office [sales]...why couldn't art be more like a love poem, build on intimate understanding?" -Vulture: Who Staged a Months-Long Performance Piece Just for Rick Moody?

“[The participant] began to question the nature of reality and that of production...meaning and purpose seemed everywhere." -KALW San Francisco: A Performance Crafted for You, Starring You

“For Odyssey Works, the city is not just a stage, but is an environment rich with significance, individual to each of us. Each performance mines these personalized landscapes to create a profound, transformative experience." -Urban Omnibus: Odyssey Works: The City for an Audience of One

ADDITIONAL PRESS:

About Us:

Abraham and Ayden have been collaborating for over three years, working together on Odyssey Works and other projects. The work covered in the book represents the labors of dozens of brilliant artists and hundreds of volunteers over the decade plus of our project.

Abraham Burickson (Photo: Ariel Abrahams)
Abraham Burickson (Photo: Ariel Abrahams)

Abraham Burickson is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Odyssey Works. Trained in architecture at Cornell University, Burickson’s work spans writing, design, performance, and sound art. For more than a decade with Odyssey Works, he has continually sought to push the boundaries of interdisciplinarity and participatory art, in an attempt to develop an artistic process that is as rigorous in its craft as it is devoted to the continual re-evaluation of traditional form. In 2010, Charlie, a collection of his poems, was published on Codhill Press.

Ayden LeRoux (Photo: Lucas Loredo)
Ayden LeRoux (Photo: Lucas Loredo)

Ayden LeRoux is the Assistant Director of Odyssey Works and has been working with the group in various capacities since late 2011. An artist and writer, her practice spans installation, sculpture, photography, video, performance, poetry, and essay in order to explore intimacy. Her work has been presented by Flux Factory, chashama, and the International Photography Festival and has been exhibited in China, Cuba, Greece, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2012, her book "Isolation and Amazement" was published by Samsara Press, documenting the Odyssey Works production "The Map is Not the Territory". She contributes to "Eyes Towards the Dove", a contemporary arts and culture blog.

Risks and challenges

Like many artists and writers, this isn't our full time job. We are both making this book between teaching, designing a house, nannying, writing the next book (!), working odd jobs, making sculptures, taking classes and occasionally trying to just, you know, hang out. We don't get paid for this book until it hits the shelves of a bookstore near you, but we are wholeheartedly committed to putting this book front and center in our focus as we juggle everything else in our lives.

Our book has been written and we're about to enter into the editing and design phase. Our hope is that our project will be completed in time for the book to be released in conjunction with Odyssey Works' residency at the Battersea Arts Centre in London in Fall of 2016, but we will have to work quickly on a tight schedule with our editors and designers to make this a reality.

While our book is meant to be approachable, the art we make isn't always easily explained in a standard elevator pitch. We want to find a design concept that will best tell our story. We've already drafted some ideas with the brilliant Sasha Wizansky, and Princeton Architectural Press has an incredible reputation for producing beautiful books, so we're confident that we'll land on just the right look and feel for our content.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    An invitation to participate in a public scene of the next Odyssey Works production and a thank you on our Facebook page.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A digital copy of "Isolation and Amazement", Odyssey Works' previous publication about their 2012 performance "The Map is Not the Territory", and all of the above.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    A copy of "Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World" plus above.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A personally selected beautiful experience for you from our Library of Experiences. Each experience comes in the form of a simple list of instructions to experience wonder, and will be specially curated by Odyssey Works for you. Plus "Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World" and all of the above.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    An all access card to the Library of Experiences, an archive of instructions for creating meaningful experiences, and "Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World", plus above.

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    76 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Receive an exclusive invitation to a workshop with Odyssey Works in New York, in which we will explore our methods and ideas from the book. Includes a copy of "Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World" and all of the above.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The limited edition collection of Odyssey Works' notorious forgeries. You'll receive copies of "If on a spring day a traveler" the sequel to Italo Calvino's famous title of a similar name; "The Typesetter's Apprentice", a manuscript allegedly written by Jorge Luis Borges but stolen by Xul Solar; "The Secret Room" a children's book written under architect Lebbeus Woods' pen name; plus "Isolation and Amazement" a book about our 2012 production in New York, and our forthcoming book from Princeton Architectural Press. It's the complete Odyssey Works Library, including access to our Library of Experiences! Plus above workshop and invite to performance.

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    Limited 1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

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

    An exclusive, 2-hour consultation with the authors on how to create a powerful experience for a loved one, plus "Six Proposals for a More Beautiful World" and above (minus workshop).

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    A day-long Odyssey made for you or a loved one. Limited to New York, San Francisco, or Baltimore. Plus above (not including phone consultation).

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Funding period

- (30 days)