Perry Chen was a musician living in New Orleans when he had the idea for Kickstarter: he didn't have the money to pay two DJs he wanted to bring over for a gig and he realised the audience might be willing to pay up front for a concert they would love to experience.
This is how he came to create Kickstarter in 2009, the online platform that became one of the most groundbreaking ideas of our times. It was voted "Best Inventions of 2010" and "Best Websites of 2011" by Time Magazine, and The New York Times called it the people's equivalent of the National Endowment for the Arts (the federal agency that funds arts projects in the US).
How Perry explains its huge success though is by exposing the simple truth at the heart of the idea: "Kickstarter revealed a desire in all of us to embrace creativity -- even when we are not the creators ourselves."
It was because Perry was able to understand this simple truth that Kickstarter grew to become the powerful business it is today. And even though Perry led the operation for years (he was CEO from its founding until 2013, when it reached $480m in pledges), he is really an artist at his core. An artist who knows that what makes technology interesting is its power to reveal larger truths about humanity as a whole. "I'm very interested in systems - both social and technological - and how they intersect with and reveal humanity."
He did exactly this in his 2014 project ‘Computers in Crisis’, an online archive, a film and a exhibition that investigated our memory of the phenomenon Y2K (remember when everyone was convinced that the Millennium Bug would crash our computer systems all over the world?) and exposed the uncertainties and fears that live in all of us. It was launched at an event called "Perry Chen: Y2K+15", held at the New Museum in New York.
In April Perry is coming to São Paulo to lead a group of 12 selected people to conceive, develop and launch a new project. Our focus will be on the 2003 Brazilian Alcântara Disaster, in which a rocket exploded on its launch pad, killing 21 people. It had been the third attempt to launch a Brazilian rocket into space and it's an event surrounded by conspiracy theories: the Brazilian Intelligence Agency has investigated the possibility of espionage and even sabotage, and Wikileaks has published documents showing that the US tried to stop the rocket launch.
Work with Perry in a intense, investigative newsroom setting to discover the truth about this story and materialize it into an event on April 11th.