Waking Giants

28 3Arts supporters
$5,000 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on April 29, 2022
    • 100% contributed
    • 0% to go

Waking Giants is a yearlong project that will manifest in a larger than life, motion sensitive, animatronic figurative sculpture. It will involve a six-month learning period in Chicago, a two-month residency in Portugal, and a four-month period dedicated to planning and executing a Chicago-based installation. Ultimately, I hope to share a creative exploration of the anxious beauty in both nature and technology, and what happens when they intersect.

About This Project

Why robots?

Like probably everyone, I have a complicated relationship with technology. It feels like so many of our current world problems can be in some way connected to technological overreach. But technology has also made many wonderful, life-saving things possible. I know this personally.

For three decades, I lived with significant physical pain and limited mobility. I have always known that I would need brutal surgery, where they tear you apart and put you back together with metal, so you’re a little closer to being a robot. In 2018, I had both my knees replaced. I am part titanium now. My sense of distance has expanded; my imagination has too.

Of course, technology and the power it provides can be abused. The physical waste created by ever more progress has real and lasting effects on our environment. Whatever we make—whether it’s an object or a situation—isn’t going anywhere. It exists, and it influences what happens next.

Waking Giants is about confronting what we have created, which ultimately means confronting ourselves. I want to portray this idea in the form of a giant humanoid figure created out of pre-used materials; a figure that moves by itself, in response to the viewer. 

To develop this project, I’ll be studying robotics, practicing with this technology, and working toward building the figures. My studies will include online learning resources, monthly mentorship meetings with a Powertrain Controls Architect and Robotics Coach, and fabrication experience at Pumping Station One maker space. This summer I am attending the Buinho Maker Lab residency in Messejana, Portugal. With your support, Waking Giants will premiere at the new physical location of Agitator Gallery, where I am a co-founder, in fall 2022. Contributions will help cover materials, studio space, equipment, and travel expenses.

I look forward to inviting donors along with me on this creative journey and sparking conversations about how we manifest our collective futures from here, and what that might look like.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Bi-weekly, personalized access to project update videos ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $35
    Above, plus a digital figure drawing by Gretchen Hasse ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75
    Above, plus an original figure sketch on paper by Gretchen Hasse, plus the project update videos ($15.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $125
    Above, plus an original, 3-D gesture study ($15.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above, plus VIP tickets for you and a guest to a pre-exhibit premiere of the final installation ($40.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above, plus invitation to a studio visit with Gretchen Hasse (in person or via Zoom) and a personalized video call while in residence from Portugal ($290.00 is tax deductible.)

Gretchen Hasse

Make a Wave Artist

Gretchen is a Chicago-based storyteller working in comics, video, animation, murals, and installation. She co-founded Agitator ArtistCollective in 2017, and since then curation has also been a crucial part of her practice.

Gretchen’s documentary videos for social justice campaigns have …

View Gretchen Hasse's profile
  • Update 1: Thank you and here we go!
    Posted on May 24, 2022


    Hello Donors

    Waking Giants was fully funded at the end of April, and since then I have been diving into the project with great enthusiasm. I'm ordering materials, buying equipment, and watching videos about circuits, animatronics, and basic sculptural techniques. 

    In mid June I am taking a class called Crazed Anatomy with artist Micheal deMeng at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. You can check out the class here. Michael's aesthetic is very compatible with my own, and I'm looking forward to both learning some new approaches and refinining old techniques.

    In late June I leave for my two month residency at the Buinho Maker Lab in Messejana, Portugal. I will spend my time there focusing on site specific robotics, taking inspiration from the surrounding area. I will return to Chicago having learned a new way to see. 

    Thank you again for your support. In the next few weeks, I will set up a system for thank-you item delivery; and you can expect a new progress video soon. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. 

    Be well and enjoy the weather.


    Update 2: Update 7/17/22 from Portugal!
    Posted on July 17, 2022


    Hello Donors


    I am in Messejana, Portugal, a small interior town south of Lisbon. For two months I am working on robotics at Buinho fab lab and creative residency. After only two weeks, I am becoming comfortable with a mindset that involves a lot of curiosity, trial and error, and constant new information. But it’s also in the context of a very slow pace, which makes learning easy. 


    Please enjoy my first video update. More to come!




    Update 3: Delayed but Detailed Update
    Posted on October 01, 2022


    Hello Donors

    After three months of intense learning, powerful progress, and faulty laptops + spotty internet connections... I am delighted to finally share some updates! Below is a link to the new section of my website, where you can see an overview of the past 3 months of my work. Now that I have a brand new laptop and some solid bandwidth, be prepared for more regular updates AND news on your physical perks. 

    Waking Giants Residency Overview

    Update 4: Video Update!
    Posted on October 13, 2022


    Hello Donors

    I'm now fully re-acclimated to my Chicago routine, and settling into my new studio at Agitator Artists' Collective. This is where I am creating my robot installations. Find out more in the first of my weekly brief video updates.

    Studio Talk #1

    Update 5: Video Update!
    Posted on October 18, 2022


    My weekly video updates are now officially called Studio Talk. This is where I keep you updated on robots, comics, and the gallery. They're all related!

    Studio Talk #2

    Update 6: Update 5: Regarding Robots!
    Posted on December 28, 2022


    Studio Talk Episode 4: Regarding Robots

    It's been a while, because I have been busy working on my new Kinetic Sculpture practice. This is so much bigger than I ever imagined.

    In episode 4, I review what I learned at Buinho, and preview what's ahead here in Chicago. The wait will be worth it.

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Suzy Jackson

    • Erika Green

    • Anita Advaney

    • Kaarin Tisue

    • Juan Dies

    • Salome Chasnoff

    • Carole McCurdy

    • Tushar Samant

    • Emlyn Bean

    • Samantha Korkosz

    • LJ Reynolds

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Sherry Nelson

    • Camilo Gonzalez

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Benjamin Dionysus

    • Doreen Calderon

    • Seth Tisue

    • Gretchen Hasse

    • Emily McEwan-Fujita

    • Lisa Gordon

    • Arnfield Betsy

    • Sue Dravis

    • Cynthia Xerogianes

    • Rebecca Pavlatos

    • Sherry Nelson

    • Colin Peters

    • Anonymous Supporter

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council