Original Burner Kal Spelletich is getting evicted from his warehouse, and is raising funds to help him move his massive collection of robots, hardware and tools. Kal was the first to bring robots and flamethrowers to Burning Man. Given this years I, Robot theme, you’d think the Org could assist. Donate here.
Re-blogged from https://www.gofundme.com/save-kals-robots
I ran my studio as an experimental art/live space that housed and supported over 100 other artists and activists. All with NO grants, no outside support, no gallery sales and no renting to tech businesses. In 1995 when I moved in the street was dirt and littered with abandoned cars and homeless everywhere, prostitution rings and crack-heads lurking to rob you.
It was the project that should have never worked: an artist supporting artists by sharing below market rent.
Yet the 25 year run of people, events, exhibits are a testament to art over commerce.
Now, like virtually all other artists in San Francisco, I’m getting evicted.
I will keep making art. I will keep supporting others who make art and are active for change.
Sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart for any support you can offer.
It has been a gift to share my space with so many amazing people. I’m looking ahead to how I can keep doing this for the next 25 years.
Rented way back in 1995, my space is was one of the last remaining raw warehouse art spaces and I made it into a home for experimental, non commercial art. I hosted jaw-dropping, fire spewing, ear shattering robot performances, music, noise and art events with the likes of Chris Johanson, Johanna Jackson, Marie Lornez and her epic boat, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Matt Heckert.
I held numerous events like a mayoral fundraiser for the Green Party, art exhibits, housed visiting artists, when countless friends were getting evicted during the first dot-com I supported multiple people in distress, supported homeless folks giving food, sustenance, supplies and more, writers, dancers, painters and activists; provided emergency art storage and live / work studios way way under market rates.
I did all this without grants or outside support.
No trust funds, patrons or high paying side jobs here. I passed along the cheap rent.
I provided housing and studios for countless artists, freaks, traveling activists and radical journalists like Trevor Paglen, AC Thompson, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, worked on Survival Research Laboratories shows, and countless others.
My life and warehouse were the inspiration for Rudy Rucker’s sci-fi novel Realware. Another book that wouldn’t have happened without my warehouse is Streetopia.
Here’s some of what I’ve accomplished in the 25 years of working steadily in one place:
As seen on the Discovery Channel this past year, I built some 16’ tall mind-reading Robots with Mitch Altman
OMG I was in the New York Times ! Thrice!
Here I am waxing poetically in a short doc with some shots of the studio I am losing.
140K views, this was listed as the most dangerous art in the world in an article:
This was done by some college students that went on to win awards and launch their careers.
For more see here:
This moment is uniquely busy: I am creating pieces for my first museum show at St. Mary’s College Art Museum in Moraga, CA in 2019 and a concurrent solo show at Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco.
Over the past two months since getting the notice to get out, I have undergone massive upheaval.
Over the past 38 years I’ve built momentum. Losing this is NOT an option.
I’m asking for $10K.
$50K, including payments in-kind (temporary workshop and storage) so far, is my minimum to keep going; to relocate some of my tools and all of my projects to a new permanent studio space and get robot storage as soon as possible.
In-kind payments from friends already: a temporary workshop, temporary storage for some of my work and referrals to a tenant’s rights lawyer.
I’ve been awarded a spot at the Stochastic Labs to work on my artificial organ project this summer.
And I sort of have a live space.
– Move out: debris boxes, rental truck, labor, hauling $20K
– Permanent storage: a barn or a shipping container and/or a space to park it in the Greater Bay Area (another payment in kind opportunity!) $10K
– Lawyers fees: $10K (and up)
With another $10K I can breathe a sigh of relief as far as paying MORE lawyers (ugg), more moving & hauling costs, outfitting new workspace, overhead for long term storage (some robots are BIG), and preparing for upcoming exhibits in the Fall of 2018 and all of 2019 (some of the best opportunities of my career).
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
My entire art career has been a risk and a challenge. I’m on year 38 as an artist.
I’m working to make everything fall into place to keep momentum for the next couple of years—some of the most important in my life.
A main concern is my old, tired body. Formerly broken fingers and limbs – my art wounds- flare up now and then. One is nothing without their health.
Sorting through and moving 25 years of equipment and materials on my own is a major challenge.
There’s always a risk with a renter’s lawsuit. It could lose and if it does it’s possible I could be sued for a lot more than I have ever made or will ever make in the rest of my life. Much more than I’m asking for right now.
From my activist work, organizing marches, prop making and self survival and safety in violent confrontations with power, to traveling the world showing and making art, in India, Africa, all over the U.S. and Europe the 25 years in this space have been spectacular, as an artist, not going to stop, ever, this I know. The challenge is to keep that momentum moving forward at this stressful and critical juncture.
Karl Marx was right, Capitalism doesn’t work without gaming private property!
I never gamed this art space, never rented to tech bros or overcharged tenants. Some said I was a fool, I just did what I hoped someone would do for me.
For 38 years, Kal has been exploring the interface of humans and robots, using technology to put people back in touch with real-life experiences. His work is interactive, requiring participants to enter or operate his pieces, often against their instincts of self-preservation. He probes the boundaries between fear, control and exhilaration by giving his audience the opportunity to operate and control fascinating and often dangerous machinery.
Born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, the seventh of nine children. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, and an M.F.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, both in the field of Media Art. He has performed, exhibited and lectured worldwide, collaborating with scientists, musicians, and politicians. Spelletich’s work has been included in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions over the past three decades, including the De Young Museum, SFMOMA, The Exploratorium Museum and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, S.F., Ca., California Folk Art Museum, L.A., CA, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA, and Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin, CA. He has exhibited internationally in Namibia, India, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia, France, Czech Republic, Holland, England, Slovakia and Austria. Spelletich lives and works in San Francisco, California.
In 2019 his work will be shown in a solo museum exhibit at St. Mary’s College of Art Museum in Orinda, CA, and a concurrent solo exhibit at the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, CA as well as other shows.