Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 6, 2011.

Photo-main
Play
00:00
00:00

A 9ft tall x 20ft long flashing sign and digital scoreboard asking passers by "CAPITALISM works for me!" true or false?

Last few hours!

I can't add you on as a backer later, so do it now, even for $1, and receive updates on the project and stay connected as this project grows!

HOORAY! THE SIGN WILL BE MADE!

We surpassed goal #1 $9,500! This past few days have been very encouraging and I am overwhelmed at the response!  I want to thank you all for the support so far!

HOORAY! THE SIGN IS IN THE BLACK!

We surpassed goal #2 $13,000! I can definitely take the sign from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and try to get it under the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. At least until the Sheriff runs me out of town.

THE NEW GOAL = 400+ backers!

Help us get to over 400 backers of the project! Help show that there is broad support for this work. We need human backing along with financial backing!

PLEDGE $1

While this project is expensive it is also expansive, and even though we still need more dollars to make the original goal I think it is really important that PEOPLE support the project. If you like it, at least PLEDGE $1. This will keep you updated on the project and connectedover the next year with this project!  If you can give more, then great.

Why you should still pledge:

You get great stuff! Of course.

You get to be a part of one of "The Best Art Projects in the History of Kickstarter"

The catalog essay is written by Paul F. Tompkins, the famous comedian!!!

Let's do this together! More pledges mean more cities, more places, maybe even your hometown!

Let's take this as far as it can go! The support this project received tells me people want to see this project out in the world! Now that we're BEYOND $13k, I can take the sign to cities without institutional support: Washington DC, New Orleans, cities in Arizona, and various suburban mini-malls are some locations I have my sights on!

READ ON There's a lot of information here so feel free to skim through it. If you have questions, please get in touch.

WHY THIS PROJECT WILL WORK:

Starting a conversation about Capitalism is like walking up to a stranger and asking, "Can I talk to you about Jesus?" The word "capitalism" is a red flag. And for good reason – pretty soon some dude is talking your ear off about "The System, man." Ugh.

At the same time, capitalism is discussed every day using euphemisms like "jobs," "job creation," "the business climate," and discussing whatever "crisis" is deemed relevant; a housing crisis, financial crisis, social security crisis, tax crisis, or fill-in-the blank crisis. But the whole is rarely a topic of frank discussion - much less alternatives or meaningful reform.

As a culture, we need the vision and boldness it takes to discuss the problem itself. The idea that "there is no alternative" to the way our world works takes away our ability to dream! And as citizens we need the courage to begin these discussions on order to move on to new and better visions for the future.

But what to do? Start a conversation about capitalism and friends edge away slowly, and strangers even faster.

This is what art is for!

This is what art does well - it creates a space where new ideas and perspectives can be explored. A space unlike any other.

Throughout my artistic career I've challenged myself to take on difficult subject matter in ways that are engaging and fun. A public project like The New York Times "Iraq War Over" Special Edition is a great example. I've also created a video game where you compete to relax, done gallery shows about the messaging of advertising, and invited people to makeover a nuclear weapons lab, or the Department of Defense. I've found humor and popular culture can open doors to difficult but worthwhile subjects and enable us to envision and move toward new futures.

THE PROJECT

Is capitalism working for you? The sign will tour the US leading up to and beyond the 2012 presidential election. There will be a book, website, and videos that document people's interactions and thoughts.

But this can only happen if we reach our fundraising goal by August 6th. You can pledge using the BACK THIS PROJECT button in the right hand column on this page.

I'm excited that this piece takes on what for most Americans is a taboo, or even nonexistent subject: whether global, hegemonic capitalism actually works for most people! But whew, talking about that is boring! And telling people what to think is worse! This sign gets passers by to participate in deceptively simple vote (True/False) which only pretends to offer resolution. Every aspect of the interaction draws them in to more complex questions and conversations, leading to new thoughts and ideas about a better world!

How will this work?

What happens is...

In a busy city center you come across the sign. A line has formed leading up to a panel/podium. In the line people are discussing the sign and the question. The sign accepts the next vote 30 seconds after the last vote.

It starts in Cleveland. SPACES, a non-profit arts organization in Cleveland is hosting me this summer as their SWAP Resident Artist. They've contributed money and resources so we can debut the project at several locations around Cleveland, Ohio starting August 26th, 2011. (If you're nearby, come to the opening!)

And then it moves across the United States.

I have venues across the country who are interested in showing this piece. From larger coastal cities to interesting smaller cities in-between. I'm also determined to get it to Las Vegas somehow. That has to happen and with your support it can.

"You're going to drive it all over?" No, the sign will break into parts so it can be crated and shipped from location to location and quickly reassembled at each site. Flat bed trucks will be rented in each city. Modular construction = better, more efficient shipping and lower costs.

Custom electronics. The brilliant Alexander Reben is working with me to make the voting interface inexpensively using Arduino's and surplus electronics supplies where possible. Alex will be documenting his methods early for backers of the project. You don't want to miss out on the updates.

Website and a book.

The project be documented online and in a book. People who vote will be given the opportunity to have their portrait taken and give a short statement about why they voted the way they did. Let's call it an "exit poll" of sorts. I'm aiming for that great combination of funny, sad, and beautiful.You can receive this book as a backer of the project.

Also all the data (date, time, location, True/False votes, etc) from various cities will be recorded and released freely.

Newsmedia and press.

My past projects have been covered in international news, tv, print, and online. As the election approaches, I hope this sign can affect the discussion on tax policy for the ultra-rich, how the rich get richer, touching on the recent Citizen's United Supreme Court Case (causing this election to be the first with unlimited campaign contributions from corporations – scary), and much more. I'm looking for progressive organizations to partner with so when the sign raises these issues, there can be smart policy folks to back me up when driving these points home.

Ok, what's the money for?

1. Production costs. This sign needs to be made of metal by a dedicated sign company. In order to enclose the wiring, operate safely outdoors in all weather, and withstand the stress of shipping to so many places, it's the only way to go.

I and SPACES have narrowed down the best fabrication techniques and competitive quotes from sign companies to partner with. We've also been hunting down donated materials and finding every possible way to get the cost down.

Production of the sign is by far our largest expense. It's as low as we can get it, but it's still around $7000. (which is actually a great price for a 20x9ft, aluminum, custom... well, anything)

2. The voting mechanism & display. I'm collaborating with the the skilled and generous Alexander Reben to build the digital voting display and interface. It's the least expensive way, but still comes in at ~$1000.

3. LED Lights and portable power. By using high efficiency LEDs throughout, we can cut the power draw from a whopping 1800 watts to around 200, making the sign able to run off a battery where needed. Exciting! Bulbs, sockets, and wiring costs ~$900.

4. The tour. Most of the cities have funds to bring the sign, rent the truck, etc. But I want to travel to UNOFFICIAL LOCATIONS! - like under the "Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. We needs to cover costs for these excursions, crating, and return shipping at the end of the tour. Because of the size shipping can cost up to ~$2000 across the country.

5. Production of book, prints, other misc expenses, etc. These are real costs after the physical sign. Usually I've sold these kinds of items after the project was complete, but in this case they'll be pre-sold and funds are needed for printing costs. We're working with some friendly businesses who are cutting us a great deal to support the project. These costs will vary but estimating ~$1000

"Wait, that doesn't add up!?" Yup, the Kickstarter goal is not enough to make this happen. The kickstarter goal is the minimum for this to barely happen. The real goal is higher!

Why? For one, there's a small budget from SPACES residency program that will offset some costs.

But more importantly, I'm being conservative in my fundraising goal because I'm willing to go out of pocket to see this happen if that's what it comes to. And if you know how Kickstarter works, I must hit that amount or the project is dead in the water. My goal is to go further. That way I can keep this whole project from ruining my credit!

OH AND THE REWARDS!! Here's some highlights...

I have some put together some really wonderful items here. Take a look in the right hand column and check out what's offered. Here's some highlights:

A PERSONAL PHONE CALL FROM MY PARENTS! A call from my mom and/or dad thanking you for your support of their son and his art. It will be brief, but not boring, and you can ask questions. Mom used to be a nun, has an MA in Theology, and can spray lacquer like a pro. Dad used to be a monk, made custom furniture, and coached a high school soccer team from inner-city Oakland to the championships in Mexico. Just note: they will probably put you on speaker phone.

PRINTS FROM THE ARROW SIGN SERIES

SAND OCEAN SKY print - LIMITED SUPPLY one available When you contribute $1500 you will receive an 18x24 inch unframed print from my series of arrow sign photos taken in 2009. (learn more about this series)

OUT OF CARS - print - LIMITED SUPPLY one available When you contribute $1700 you will receive an 18x24 inch framed print from my series of arrow sign photos taken in 2009. (learn more about this series)

ORIGINAL SIGN WORKS

There's only one each of these. You get a sign, I get to make a sign! Everyone wins.

IT'S ABOUT POWER (more info) Signed #2 of 5. Wood, laser cut acrylic, and electrical. 25in x 25in x 5in

DO IT (more info) Signed #5 of 10. Wood, laser cut acrylic, and electrical. 7in x 11in x 5in and 22 watts.

UNSTOPPABLE (more info)  Signed, #4 of 10. Wood, laser cut acrylic, and electrical. 7.5in x 31in x5 in and 50 watts. 

OTHER PRINTS

OUT OF IDEAS - LIMITED TO 1 - hand "damaged" series of prints. Your choice from available prints. Printed at Lower East Side Printshop. (more about this project)

THIS IS PERFECT - LIMITED TO 1 - limited edition screenprints from my Lower East Side Printshop residency. (more on this project)

OTHER GREAT STUFF

SIGNED COPY of DREAM by Stephen Duncombe + participate in a Q&A - LIMITED TO 5 - Pledge $75 and receive a signed copy of one of my favorite books Dr. Stephen Duncombe's "DREAM: Reimagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy." And participate in a live webcast conversation and Q&A with myself and Stephen Duncombe about capitalism and utopia! Guaranteed it will be informative and funny.

Or, a SURPRISE BOOK signed by Duncombe and myself. But not written by either of us! And access to the live webcast Q&A.

I Want You To Have This - LIMITED TO 1 - This edition of 80 is nearly sold out and this one comes from a small personal stash. It has been described as a "tool to facilitate giving" and you can read more about the project here.

Personalized online artist portfolio website LIMITED TO 2 - $300 pledge. If you're dragging your heels in getting your work online this is for you. I created a WordPress theme called WPFolio that's a free, open-source, and versatile way to create your artists portfolio online. Pledge $300 and I will set it up for you and get everything started, and spend 45 minutes in a one-on-one session getting you up to speed. Get your artwork online using the best open source tools and my help!

$100 PRINT - this is a print of a drawing I made that says $100. This is worth at least $100, isn't it? From an edition of 10. (read more about this project)

WHAT'S BEHIND CURTAIN #3! LIMITED TO 5 - (SOLD OUT!) Pledge $50 and you'll receive "What's Behind Curtain #3" - my original prints, photographs, and drawings straight from my flat files. (Full disclosure: none of the 5 are a brand new car) Some are from more than 10 years ago! Others aren't! All of them are good! One is a drawing of Millard Fillmore used for a friends album. Will you get it? You'll have to find out! (This options is special for the mystery lovers and gambling addicts!)

WHAT'S BEHIND CURTAIN #2 LIMITED TO 5 - due to the popularity of CURTAIN #3, I'm now offering what's behind CURTAIN #2! (hint: some 20x24 inch color photos, screenprints, and perhaps, a donkey)

Performance of "Free" - I will give a performance for you and an audience. (Not just you, too weird) You cover the logistics and I'm there. The only other performance has been at The New Museum and there are no recordings available! Contact me and we'll work out the details. More info on the performance.

NYT Special Edition - signed by me. (more on this project)

Utopia Letterpress Print - 22x14in Beautifully printed by James Lang at Horwinski Printing in Oakland.

International Backers

Thanks for your support. Please add a bit for shipping depending on what you choose! Thanks!

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

One way you can help is to tell your friends about this project and encourage them to support it too! Please pass this on. There's links above to tweet this project and embed the video on your site.

I'm @stevelambert on twitter and here on Facebook.

Pass on this link to the project: http://kck.st/o9JvTI

DO IT NOW

The sooner we meet the goal, the sooner I will be able to sleep through the night and this feeling in my stomach will go away and I can just work on this thing and make it great. Pledge now!

FAQ

  • It depends on the item. For the prints of the sign I will get to work on it as soon as I have an image I like. The book will likely be late 2012 in order to include chapters on each city. Existing art works will go out as soon as possible.

    Last updated:
  • I wont necessarily, I will just slow them down. The sign has a "cooling off period" after each time someone votes, so the next vote will be accepted after a countdown. This is designed to encourage some thought, discourage multiple votes, as well as create a line and a crowd around the sign.

    Last updated:
  • Absolutely! If you check out my bio, I've made signs like this before, and pulled off much crazier events. I've got a skilled engineer, professional sign companies to work with, organizational support from SPACES and more organizations ready to jump in. With your backing, everything is ready to go.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! In two ways. You can back the project more than once and pick the things you'd like. Or get in touch and I will work something out and get it on this page.

    Last updated:
  • The Kickstarter goal doesn't cover all the costs, so when we exceed the goal, those funds will be put toward the real costs of the project, and then getting it to cities that don't have arts organizations willing to bring it. (Washington DC comes to mind.)

    Last updated:
  • We will keep a running tally, but the counter will be reset in each city, perhaps each day.

    Last updated:
  • No, for a variety of boring reasons, but if it's important get in touch and I might be able to arrange something.

    Last updated:
434
Backers
$16,986
pledged of $9,500 goal
0
seconds to go
  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    152 backers

    Become an Outreach Partner. Spread the word about the project in your community and receive a special Outreach Partner credit on the website. And of course we need your help broadcasting the Kickstarter campaign. Facebook it. Tweet it. Sing it from the mountain tops. You will also receive exclusive project updates before anyone else: Video updates, tour details, Alex's Technology Corner, and more! BUT if you only pledge at this amount, you'll NEVER GET all the great stuff below! C'MON NOW, CAN YOU TAKE IT FURTHER?

  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    96 backers

    A multi-page SPACES exhibition catalog for the SWAP artist residency featuring the sign, an essay, and more. ALSO 4x6 photo postcard of the sign sent from a city on the tour. With a personal note of thanks from me. Plus access to project updates and your name on the site., note from me, access to updates, and name listed on the site. But seriously, why would you stop here? Scroll down and see what else you can get!

  • Pledge $40 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    A personal phone call from my mom and/or dad thanking you for your support of their son and his art. Brief, but not boring, and you can ask questions. Mom used to be a nun, has an MA in Theology, and can spray lacquer like a pro. Dad used to be a monk, built custom furniture, and coached a championship high school soccer team from inner-city Oakland. Just note: they will probably put you on speaker phone.

  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    16 backers

    Signed copy of the New York Times Special Edition! Plus the catalog, postcard, a note from me, name on the site, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    15 backers

    Utopia Letterpress Print. Plus the catalog, postcard, a note from me, name on the site, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert. Pretty nice! But check out what you'd be missing below...

  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    5 backers All gone!

    "Curtain #3" - a signed original print, photograph, or drawing straight from my flat files. Might be old, might be new, some big, some small, all are likely worth way more, pledge and see! Plus the catalog, postcard, a note from me, and name on the site.

  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    5 backers All gone!

    CURTAIN #2 - a signed original print, photograph, or drawing straight from my flat files. Might be old, might be new, some big, some small, all are likely worth way more, pledge and see! Plus the catalog, postcard, a note from me, and name on the site.

  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    3 backers All gone!

    $100 PRINT. (An unbelievable savings.) Plus the catalog, postcard, a note from me, and name on the site.

  • Pledge $60 or more
    You selected

    21 backers

    8x10 Print of the "Capitalism Works For Me!" sign. Signed, archival, photo print edition. These will be much like the Arrow Sign series offered below. It might be next to the Federal Reserve, or the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, I don't know yet. These will be editioned by Electric Works Fine Art Press in San Francisco. Plus a postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, in the book, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert. Want the first edition book too? See the $120 level!

  • Pledge $65 or more
    You selected

    13 backers

    A signed first edition of the "CAPITALISM Works For Me!" book. Around 75 (or more) pages of photos and statements from people around the country who voted true or false, images of the sign in different cities, and more. Plus a postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert. Want a 8x10 print too? See the $120 level!

  • Pledge $75 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    A signed copy of DREAM by Stephen Duncombe and participate in a live webcast conversation and Q&A with Duncombe and I on capitalism! Plus an 8x10 print, postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $75 or more
    You selected

    2 backers All gone!

    $100 PRINT (An unbelievable savings.) These are #8 and #9 in the edition of 10 - the last few, so scarcity drives up their price in the market. You understand. Plus you get the catalog, postcard, a note from me, phone call from the parents, and name on the site.

  • Pledge $75 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    First Edition Book AND a SURPRISE BOOK! Signed by me and Steve Duncombe, (but not written by us). Tell us which way you vote and we'll pick from the following: Das Kapital, Lenin's Imperialism, the biography of 50 Cent, Smith's Wealth of Nations, or? Plus participate in a live webcast conversation and Q&A with Duncombe and I on capitalism! And the postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $120 or more
    You selected

    9 backers

    BOTH first edition book AND the 8x10 print, Plus the postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site and the book, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $150 or more
    You selected

    8 backers

    16x20 Print of the "Capitalism Works For Me!" sign. Signed, archival, photo print edition. These will be much like the Arrow Sign series offered below. It might be next to the Federal Reserve, or the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, I don't know yet. These will be editioned by Electric Works Fine Art Press in San Francisco. Plus a postcard, Utopia Print, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, in the book, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $180 or more
    You selected

    1 backer All gone!

    I WANT YOU TO HAVE THIS - edition of 80. LIMITED TO ONE. Plus a first edition book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call.

  • Pledge $200 or more
    You selected

    2 backers

    16x20 print, and first edition book, plus a Utopia Print, postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, in the book, and a thank you call from the folks

  • Pledge $225 or more
    You selected

    4 backers

    20x24 Print of the "Capitalism Works For Me!" sign. Signed, archival, photo print edition. These will be much like the Arrow Sign series offered below. It might be next to the Federal Reserve, or the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, I don't know yet. These will be editioned by Electric Works Fine Art Press in San Francisco. Plus a Utopia Print, postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, in the book, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $275 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    20x24 print, first edition book, plus a Utopia Print, postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site, in the book, and a thank you call from the folks.

  • Pledge $300 or more
    You selected

    2 backers All gone!

    Personalized online artist portfolio website LIMITED TO 2 If you're dragging your heels in getting your work online this is for you. I will set up your portfolio for you and get everything started, and spend 45 minutes in a one-on-one session getting you up to speed. Get your artwork online using the best open source tools and my help! Plus the postcard, exhibition catalog, your name on the site and the book, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $350 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    YOU ARE IN THE BOOK. I will photograph you and include a statement about whether or not capitalism works for you. Plus a first edition book, a 20x24 print, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $575 or more
    You selected

    1 backer All gone!

    THIS IS PERFECT - LIMITED SUPPLY - 18x24in screenprint, limited edition of 10. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from my parents.

  • Pledge $875 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    OUT OF IDEAS - LIMITED SUPPLY - Screenprint and collage with coffee, whiskey, and beer, hand additions on torn, crumpled, and burnt paper. 23″ x 30″ original image and sheet. Edition of 12. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from my Mom and or Dad.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    I will perform "Free: a talk and walking tour with jokes" a 30 minute lecture I did at the New Museum last year. You provide the venue and logistics. Plus you're included in the book, a first edition book, a 20x24 print, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from my folks.

  • Pledge $1,500 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    BRING THE SIGN TO YOUR TOWN! Yup, you pay the freight and get a truck and I will come for the weekend to do the rest. Help keep your town weird! Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from the parents.

  • Pledge $1,500 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    SAND OCEAN SKY print - LIMITED SUPPLY one available. A signed 18x24 inch unframed print from my series of arrow sign photos taken in 2009. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $1,700 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    OUT OF CARS print - LIMITED SUPPLY one available. A signed 18x24 inch framed print from my series of arrow sign photos taken in 2009. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $1,800 or more
    You selected

    1 backer All gone!

    UNSTOPPABLE sculpture. LIMITED SUPPLY one available. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $2,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    DO IT sculpture. LIMITED SUPPLY one available. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert.

  • Pledge $3,500 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    IT'S ABOUT POWER sculpture. LIMITED SUPPLY one available. Plus a first edition book, you are included in the book, the postcard, exhibition catalog, and a thank you call from Mom & Dad Lambert. What a value!

Featured!
Funding period

- (30 days)