Celebrity Kickstarters and Transcendental Art

Giving and receiving are integrally connected and so, as OPEN seeks funding for its own efforts, we are also looking for like-minded projects to support.

For the past few days, I’ve been trolling Kickstarter, which has become the go-to hub for creative, crowd-sourced fundraising.  Of late, even celebrities have started to use this platform to raise funds for their independent projects.

I have to admit, when I saw Spike Lee’s campaign to raise $1.25MM for the next Spike Lee Joint, I grimaced a bit.  How could a wealthy celebrity with endless resources and connections divert support from the grassroots efforts of every day artists who truly need Kickstarter to manifest their dreams?  But Spike makes a good point in his video, which is that he was “kickstarting” before Kickstarter even existed – writing letters, handing out flyers on the street, begging and pleading relatives and strangers to support his dream.  Having experienced how hard one must work to generate support for independent projects, I have to respect his efforts, and I welcome him as a fellow fundraiser.  It tickles me that we started our campaigns on the same day.  His campaign is 45% funded with $556,292 of $1.25MM, while mine is 22% funded with $4,421 of $20,000.  We both have 17 days to go.  I hope we’ll cross the finish line together, successful and able to move forward with our plans.

One celebrity Kickstarter campaign I am particularly moved by is that of Marina Abramovic, who is raising funds to build the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI), an experiential art center in Hudson, NY.  Her Kickstarter page features a virtual tour of the space, which details the transcendental experience visitors will be treated to.  First, all visitors must sign a contract stating that they will spend a minimum of 6 hours in the space.  They are then guided through a series of reorienting exercises, such as walking at a deliberate pace, laying suspended on a floating platform and sitting across from and staring into the eyes of a complete stranger.  You are then wheeled into a central performance space, cradled in what Marina calls a “wheelchair”, to observe a performance art piece.

I love the idea of this project.  It requires that you surrender your time and potentially your comfort zone in order to reap the benefits of relaxation, reorientation and transformation – on both a physical and spiritual level.  Those are the very same benefits of  travel.  If you are open to it, a trip can be a transcendental experience that leaves you a changed, more aware person.

You can view the virtual tour of MAI here.  If it moves you like it’s moved me, consider donating to her cause.  And please don’t forget little ol’ me and OPEN, a project that also offers transformative experiences and needs your support.


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