Artists LigoranoReese are melting down The American Dream at the Republican and Democratic conventions this summer.
About this project
We’re melting down two 4000 pound sculptures carved in ice spelling out the words The American Dream during the Republican and Democratic conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia – our most dramatic public artworks to date.
The American Dream ice sculptures
The power lies in giving sculpture a performative aspect which suggests change, movement and emotional power. – Jonathan Goodman, Sculpture Magazine
These enormous sculptures, each measuring over 30 feet long, will melt within 24 hours. Their disappearance will highlight the erosion of opportunity and social equality in society, intensified even further this election year.
Seeing one of the central tenets of postwar America disappear, suspends disbelief. We hope that witnessing the sculpture melt—literally weep through its transformation—will create a sense of urgency and act as a call to action.
What will happen
In Cleveland, the sculpture forms the backdrop for an afternoon symposium organized by The City Club on equality, opportunity and creative advocacy. Other participating organizations include Transformer Station, SPACES and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame;
In Philadelphia, the sculpture will be flanked by a chorus of poets and writers declaiming from their own work and selected writings by Howard Zinn, James Baldwin, Ta-Ne-hisi Coates, Claudia Rankin and Charles Reznikoff among others.
We will be holding writers’ residencies in both cities, a total of 24 poets, writers and journalists, 12 at each location. They will have 2 hours to write their impressions of what is happening as the American Dream disappears and upload them in realtime to the meltedaway website.
How we make them
We’re working with Aaron Costic of Elegant Ice Creations in Cleveland and Shintaro Okamotoof Okamoto Studio in New York to carve the ice letters. Once they get our illustrator files, they carve the ice using CNC routers, chain saws and chisels.
Carving the letter F for The Future, 2014
On the morning of the launch we install the pedestal and sculptures at sunrise, the whole process can take up to 4 hours. More than anything, this is a team effort – we’re working with local ice carvers, carpenters, filmographers, and writers to make a powerful statement and symbolic artwork, like the way a finely tuned music ensemble performs and improvises.
The pedestal is modular. We are using it in both locations. LED lighting is inside the structure.
We set up cameras to stream the sculptures live and to record two different timelapses, one edited from real-time footage, the other dropping frames; throughout the day we film interviews with passersby.
- Carve ice sculptures for both locations;
- Stream the sculpture live to the meltedaway website and a network of online hosts includingArtsEverywhere;
- Film street interviews with the public at the sculpture site – documentary filmmaker Ben Wolf is shooting this;
- Organize, Invite and schedule 12 writers at each site to the Residencies in Cleveland andPhiladelphia;
- Organize a public convocation to energize and reach an even wider audience:
- Design and launch a fully responsive website http://meltedaway.com for viewing the meltdowns on mobile or desktop platforms created by Diane Bertolo of Lotus & Pixel;
- Print an 8 page newspaper given away on site with essays by noted poets Charles Bernstein, Erica Hunt and Edwin Torres.
LigoranoReese’s melting ice sculptures are collective holding spaces, allowing us moments to reflect in the shade of art. – Charles Bernstein
Be part of making this project happen in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
With your support, we can make an inspirational public artwork focusing on some of the most pressing issues facing us during this critical election. Please spread the word.
The role of art is to inspire, uplift and motivate – to express ideas beyond established discourse. To paraphrase poet Denise Levertov, insofar as art has a social function, it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock.
Like past Kickstarter projects, we are offering several limited editions, made in our Brooklyn studio as rewards for supporting our project.
The American Dream Project Newspaper
The American Dream Project Newspaper – 8 page color tabloid with essays by poets Charles Bernstein, Erica Hunt and Edwin Torres, artist statement by LigoranoReese, and an inner spread, data visualization of how society has changed over the last 9 elections. Donation of $30.
Deluxe 420 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes snow globe
Why stop with just the F**K snow globe? Hand-cast and assembled Deluxe 420 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes snow globe, from the the limited edition of 25 we launched last year and featured in High Times. Donation of $500.
After/Thought 2013 lenticular. The first lenticular from the series Edges. Other lenticulars available as rewards are Over/Sight 2014 ($700) and Under/Hand 2015 ($500) Digital print mounted on Sintra, cradle frame on back, 15 x 15 inches signed and numbered edition of 100.Donation of $800.
Archival Inkjet Print from Catastrophic Acts edition
2 prints from the digital print series Catastrophic Acts, close-ups from The Future ice sculpture. Edition of 5 + 2APS, Archival digital print, 26 x 30 inches. Unframed. Only 2 available. Donation of $3500.
Risks and challenges
This is art without a safety net – we’re on the streets, there’s no white box protecting us. Making art this way is serious, you have to be nimble and ready for anything.
Having done the past two conventions, we’re getting good at knowing the pitfalls. And we’ve been planning for this project since last fall.
We have the necessary permits, that’s one of the hardest steps.
The crew is lined up and we’re partnering with a number of organizations but challenges remain:
* Will this sculpture and event open necessary discussion and thought?
• Will the weather hold on the day of the launch?
• What will the impact be on the public? How will they react?
• What will people at the conventions be like? Respectful or hostile?
• How long with the sculpture last?
The biggest test still remains to be seen – will all the elements we’re planning mesh together make one of the most engaging artworks ever? Stay tuned and see!
Please join us in making this happen.