Save Kal's Robots

I am overwhelmed by the support you are giving me! THANK YOU I'm really looking forward to creating something new with all of you. With a warm heart, Kal

31144670_1537135454823174_r.jpegAt the same time, we still have no reason to worship capitalism or private property – in part, because private property is truly anti-democratic, as Marx correctly saw, and as Jefferson would agree.

I'm getting evicted from my warehouse studio.
I urgently need your help to raise $20K (at least, see below) to relocate in the next month. Look! ME! Talking!  -     -   Please share my story with your friends! If you know any blogs I can submit this to, let me know. I'm so happy that in just a few days I got almost $20K. This is a real and ongoing crisis, I don't have the money to cover this without your help.  How does this kind of art survive without products for sale or outside funds?  It's sustained by supporters and individuals who care. THANK YOU I'm really looking forward to creating something new with all of you. With a warm heart, Kal
31144670_153431019253645_r.jpegDEEP STORAGE->
This is the last couple of weeks, crunch time. Robots are heavy. I've already worn out a new pair of boots and my hands! I know you've heard it before buuuuuttt if you know anyone to share this with.....I'm so close to my goal. Thank you! Oh, and I'm doing a show at the Goethe Institute (San Francisco) in October in association with City Lights Books and LitQuake. Life is amazing, confusing, hard, and fun. Stop the plutocracy. Besos, Kal
Do-gooders are a trip. Instead of kicking down to my eviction fundraiser, they want to make money off of my life it TV news, plays or tv docu-drama's. Its happened a few times before. Many people want / have used my story, so now I suppose I have such an interesting life, I should write my own screen treatment of my life.

I get emails like this...... As well as from news, national news, etc.

Kal -
I saw on your blog, and Laughing Squid, and GoFundMe, that you are getting evicted. I am writing you because I am a playwright/filmmaker/writer - I've also created a cable TV series (called Outsiders, which is about eviction in regards to mountaintop removal in Appalchia) and I am currently writing a script about eviction/gentrification in the Bay Area.

Do you ever open your studio to visitors? I will be in SF this saturday - is there any way that I could stop by and talk to you about your situation for ten minutes? I promise that's all. I'm just doing some research as I write this thing.

thanks and good luck!

Pxxxx Mxxxxx

 PRESS on my fundraiser, they AREN'T the enemy all the time!…/Kal-Spelletich-artist-robots-machi……/legendary-artist-kal-spelletich-bein…/…/help-save-artist-kal-spelletic.html

The best are the comments  on the SFGate article, right-wing anti-art Libertarians rule Frisco!

A List of SOME people who made a start At The KalPalace:

Trevor Paglen

For over a decade I provided cheap housing for Investigative Reoporters, I called it my writer in residence program:

AC Thompson

G.W. Schulz

Rebecca Bowe


Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Jays canoe - !

Gay mens flag troop
Some small business People got a start through my cheap rents.


A Womyn's tattoo parlor opened, boomed and soon they had a storefront on Valencia St., a shop in Portland, then she bought the shop and a house in Portland.

Andy's carpenter shop, ran his shop out of my place, and bought a house in Oakland.

Clint customized high performance parts Cooper Minis. Clint souped up Mini's, grew the business, and sold it for bank after his daughter was born.

An endless list of people who I helped in times of crisis with storage of their belongings.

I've hand built hundreds of robots, fire machines, and held jaw dropping events in the past 25 years in the warehouse. This is where I built the first ever flamethrowers and robots used at Burning Man in the '90's. I hosted music, noise and art events with the likes of the Bicycle Rodeo, Mitch Altman, Matt Heckert of Survival Research Laboratories, Heather Dewey-Hagborg to name a few and exhibitions with and for many many other artists and art groups (more below).
REQUEST UPDATE******Many of you may have noticed I increased my ask to $20K and that my Needs Breakdown total ($50K) is much higher than my initial request ($10K).

This first $10K allows me to cover the growing piles of bills: the landlord has evicted my roommates but I still have to cover the rent on my own and also pay legal fees.

Another $10K allows me to cover the bills for shutting this place down: clearing it out, moving stuff, buying a robot storage container, get help and then ship it to a long term place.


- 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 for cost of container(s) and trucking

- Lawyers fees: $10K (and up)

With another $10K I can breathe a sigh of relief as far as paying MORE lawyers (ugh), 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).

I'm asking for $20K (or more) though really $50K is the minimum to keep going. 

In-kind payments from friends already: a temporary workshop, temporary storage  (thank you Matt Heckert and Charlie Gadeken) for some of my work  and referrals to a tenant's rights lawyer (thanks to Ragi Dindial for his legal guidance and support).

And I sort of have a live space.

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 the truly disturbed and disadvantaged 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.

I was the first to bring robots  and flamethrowers  to  Burning Man.

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.

I've been awarded a spot at the Stochastic Labs to work on my artificial organ project this summer.

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.

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 Spelletich 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.

Donations (0)

  • Michael Catharine Lehmann 
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Carson Ellis 
    • $50 
    • 11 mos
  • Marc Salomon 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos
  • Matthew Bernstein 
    • $50 
    • 14 mos
  • Anthony Fudd 
    • $100 
    • 14 mos


Kal Spelletich 
San Francisco, CA
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