Aug 122010

As respite from the Re:bourne ‘machine’,  I have been doing some research into Landscape and Environment Art; think Christo, Dennis Oppenheim and Andy Goldsmith.  I stumbled across this;

(Environmental Art)…is a “spatialisation of cultural politics”, a radical rethinking of the intersection between social relations, space and the community.  This rethinking can lead to a kind of IN-BETWEEN or THIRD SPACE, a lived space of radical openness and unlimited scope, where all histories and geographies, all times and places, are immanently presented and represented.   Edward Soja

My thoughts exactly!

I hope on some level Re:bourne is able to achieve some of these things.  At its best it will be  a ‘creative disruption’ or ‘interruption’ that enables the community to inhabit a transgressive space between bricks and mortar and day to day life; it will  a critique of what is already there , an invitation to change literally and emotionally.  At worst, it will simply enrich shoppers experience as they collect their frozen peas from Iceland.

May 122010

Yesterday, I had the privilege of listening to 13 presentations, in pecha-kucha format,  from some of the most interesting and innovative arts-based companies in London.  This was part of A New Direction’s programme “The Biggest Learning Opportunity on Earth,” already mentioned in our blogs.  The workshop was held in the View Tube, a space overlooking the shell of the new Olympic Stadium. I was concerned that it might be hard to keep my focus in the room especially as £16,000,000 of steel was literally being put up before my very eyes. How wrong I was.

The day was a constant stream of ideas, dynamic in their range and scope, as well as an opportunity to collect other people’s insights whilst sharing my own feedback.  I was introduced to projects that had puppets from another planet, giant sculptures made from recycled materials, clay collected from around the globe, immersive theatre, site-specific ideas using the body as a site, I even found out Arnold Schwarzenegger trained in Canning Town.  Who knew presentations and networking could be so playful!

Being a cultural producer  in a crowded market, and in an even more crowded city, sometimes feels like a very competitive place to be. But yesterday was a healthy reminder that open, honest, dialogue with organisations working with the same aims (and the chasing same pots of money)  is an essential part of our creative process.  It enable ideas to grow, it leads us into uncharted territory and encourages us to be a little bolder, as well as challenging ‘baggy’ ideas.  It’s also fun. Walking back to the DLR, past the stadium, I was once again overwhelmed by the magnitude and scale of the Olympic site.  I wondered to myself: what would happen if all the arts companies working with young people in Camden decided to come together on one project, all the arts companies in Leeds or Edinburgh or the South West, etc? What could it mean? What could it achieve?

In that spirit of sharing, here are the details of two brilliant organisations  who work with young people to make accessible architectural and design procedures in building, and who are also our partners on The Biggest Learning Opportunity on Earth.   Please have a look at what they are up to.

Fundamental Architectural Inclusion is an architecture centre that seeks new ways of communities to participate in the transformation of their neighbourhood.

Rolling Sound creates and runs multi-media courses. Their design courses are being used by young people to create plans and designs as if they were planning their very own public monuments.

May 102010

When its a map….

These images were taking during a project at  Marriotts School in Stevenage

I had my facilitator hat on

and was encouraging Yr7staff and students

to see and use space differently

We armed students with masking tape and asked them to

create a map of their experiences at school.

This map covered the entire floor in the hall.

Over 150 students contributed to it.

This was a very simple idea but the results were fantastic, students worked in groups, negotiating and collaborating.  Spatial awareness was crucial as was developing a visual language together.

Some of the images created had obvious explanations

and some…

were a little more opaque!

Either way,  plenty of things to discuss

and consider.

May 102010

These Year 7 boys from Forest Hill School were involved in “Experimentology”.

When I asked why  they had decided to create a magazine, they told me “we want to read stuff that’s written by students and not the staff”.  That sounds like a good idea to me! The results were fantastic – beautiful photography, graphic design and illustration, poetry and reviews.