About Arch

... An exploration of participation, art and architecture in the city to inform a concept for engagement with the local community via artistic intervention... offering to our client a point of departure for the continuation of these ideas in their future work.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Minutes 23.10.08

23.10.08 – Group Meeting Minutes
10:15am in Studio

Present: Tilly/ Jen/ Tori/ Pól/ Kris/ Jonny/ Hayley/ Helen/ Carolyn/ Julie

Overview of Activity - The group updated Carolyn with a brief overview of our activities over the past few days – a picture of how we have gone about creating interventions within Sharrow to test out various ideas – two days of “challenging perceptions” of the ordinary (Jonny). Video prepared by Pól was shown to demonstrate the initial outcomes, along with explanation of specific ideas and interventions.

Interventions - Ideas - Development of ideas - Orange Chickens explained the development of the ‘Sharrow as a Stage’ interactive dance forum, including how the addition of chalked dance steps had encouraged public participation.

Audiences - Tilly described the ‘bubblewrap’ intervention, and its appeal in particular to a young girl; other groups found that it was the older generation who were the most willing to discuss their feelings and associations with what we were doing (or in some cases, nothing related to what we were doing!)

Participation - Carolyn asked what the public had been asked and how they had reacted; general discussion about memories of Sharrow, what the bus meant to the public, what their thoughts were when using the bus stops etc. It was largely agreed that people did start sharing memories as a result of the interventions – this improved over the day (possibly due to the installations ‘establishing’ themselves over time?) – Hayley pointed out the possible increased success if they could be left for, say, a week – agreed that the projects ‘grew’.

The ‘living room’ installation created a stage in which to sit, and it was pointed out that no one stopped to question the group during its stay in the bus stop; equally, no members of the public wanted to join in. Carolyn pointed out that, in that situation, she probably wouldn’t either…

Jonny mentioned the participation of bus drivers, in particular whilst playing games in the ‘living room’, one joined in by calling out letters for Hangman… Whilst this was a positive experience, far more common were negative reactions from bus drivers and employees of the transport were less encouraging yet unsurprising.

Key idea – “I remember you from yesterday”; “weren’t you the ones at XXX bus stop?”; “are you anything to do with the XXX in the bus stop down the road?” - already having an impact on the community, sparking memories, forming network, creating a stir!

This idea was pursued, in that through stage + celebration we were creating forums for memories (Hayley). Carolyn pointed out that this was valid – even if the information does not come back to us directly, the fact that ideas are being generated within the public shows that we have, to a degree, achieved what we set out to do.

Discussed problems encountered – question of legality of a barbecue in public (although in practice the intervention was not stopped)

Many group members agreed that there was great value in the public’s reactions after the initial event of the intervention had taken place, and that these responses were often more relevant and useful. Tilly mentioned one man who had completely reinterpreted the meaning of the Post-It bus stop, as a place for regular commuters to leave notes for each other and have ‘conversations’ via the notes.

Journeys to and from the interventions – Helen’s birthday – Pól + Jen arrived by bus, trying to link event + journey.

Sounds and transmission of noise – Murderous Red Robins explained how a visual intervention (tinfoil) became much more about sounds and distortion, as the tinfoil ‘carpet’ changed and aged with the presence of users, encouraged by the pleasing noises that the foil made when moving. ‘Bird box’ idea – placing a familiar sound in a familiar (garden) object, but in a manmade structure – was meant to be contrasted with a more urban environment – this may be pursued next week.

Carolyn mentioned French artist Sophie Calle and the Architecture Foundation’s bus stop competition as possible avenues of research.

Group summary (HA/JH) – 1. People have a lot to say if given the chance

2. Bus stops do work as a forum

3. Great value in reviewing work after event.

From point 3 - Group discussed how well some of the images and footage have come out when looking back after the event – in particular, the Post-Its (colour, shadow, framing of void) and the distortion of the Perspex during the ‘living room’ (manipulation of the form). Carolyn felt that this was a strength of work so far - to maintain an appreciation of the aesthetic throughout.

Carolyn felt that the open ended-ness of the ideas was a positive aspect, meaning that conclusions were not forced upon the public.

Meetings – It was brought up that the group had experienced some difficulties with the client meetings, in that they seemed estranged from our own line of work, and that as a group we felt we needed to give direction to the meetings at this stage in the live project. Carolyn agreed – has spoken to Trish who is happy for us to lead – concluded there has been slight misunderstanding about whether it would be appropriate for the group to take more control.

Our role – that at times, it has been unclear what exactly we as a group can bring to the Arch project (dancers and artists seemingly have more expertise and experience in the relevant areas). Pól suggested that we offer constraints; Carolyn had noticed that this was what the dancers were asking for last week – it was generally agreed by group that this was required. Carolyn also felt that we were not always confident in the skills that we brought to the project as architecture students, such as spatial awareness, sense of scale, sensitivity to materials + texture, etc. – and that we should be confident in exploiting our own knowledge and skills.

The group’s position within Birch O’Shea was also brought up – whether we are leaning more towards Trish’s practice, Simon’s approach, some form of ‘mediator’ or another factor all together. It was suggested that our bringing together of the public and the professional performer could be both the challenge and the role that we try to fill within the Arch project as a whole.

From this it was suggested that the group should provide something “more architectural” for tomorrow’s session – Julie also felt that this was something Simon had been pushing towards. It was agreed to work with what had already been accomplished to aim for this.

What the bus stop means – Thoughts both for and against deconstructing the bus stop idea – does it remain a literal forum or become more metaphorical? Ongoing food for thought.
Jonny suggested coming up with 20+ rough ideas which could be refined over the next weeks.

Final presentation/whole school event – As a group, we need to start thinking about how to present the live project – what/when/where/how would be most appropriate. Agreed by all that a staid, traditional presentation would be inappropriate and not in keeping with the work. Do we improvise an event beforehand to replay on assessment day? Group discussed live performance, street event, exhibition with satellite performances – to be discussed more next week.

Assessment – Carolyn ran through basic structure, namely: 50% on process/structure of project/ingenuity/outcomes – self assessed? 50% on success of the team/analysis/awareness of problems – at presentation [n.b. do not take this as certain – check]. She also suggested that we discuss any presentation ideas with Russell.

Conclusions - We have been pursuing (and confused by) two threads – professional dance, and public engagement in performance (Jonny). These threads are slowly coming together – feels like we are beginning to make sense of the project and our role within it, as we tie together ideas.

- We are now in a position to take a stronger position in running the client meetings on Fridays, where previously we have been unsure in our ideas/avenues of exploration

Our next steps – 11.15 onwards (discussed after Carolyn left)
- Prepare (in smaller groups) 1:1 prototypes for the dancers to use tomorrow afternoon, based on interventions and last Friday’s session
- Format the material gathered from the interventions to present to dancers and clients
- Plan tomorrow’s meeting – structure, material, objectives

­Other Information - Next Meeting – Friday 24th October @ 10am (be there 9.30am) at Sharrow Community Forum
(group, Trish + Simon, Carolyn, dancers)

1 comment:

Blogger said...

Did you know you can create short urls with AdFly and get cash for every click on your short links.