BCL Report: May 5, 2011 (Big Books & Small Letters)

We met twice on Thursday, and those meetings were after Michelle and I headed over to SB Contemporary Art to finally check out “On Your Mark” (a great exhibition featuring work by many of our friends) and talk about how we could partner in some way on Homework: Infrastructures & Collaboration in Social Practices.

Back at the Ecohouse to try to get the plan together to work on a video we’ve been tossing around for a while — final decisions have been elusive, so we put it on hold for now. Instead, we headed out to the front lawn and reminded ourselves of the what we can do with How to Forget the Border Completely.

Executing these projects is just a matter of carving out a day … we spend time planning, testing, experimenting, brainstorming because we know we’re more curious together and our collective curiosity is the driver for every one of these projects. It’s not about the solutions, it’s about the questions.

Maybe it was the sunshine, or just the change of environment (being around tables all the time isn’t the most conducive to great ideas), but we got through a lot in the morning.

We were focused on working through planning for the Canada Border Services Consultancy.

It’s a consultancy we’re inventing and placing ourselves in as consultants to “improve customer service at the Canadian border.” It’s absurd and impossible, but it’s unfolding at two levels for us: first, imagining how one might forget that they are indeed in the process of crossing a border, and second, providing some space to think around the tactics of distraction that could be used to move ahead larger implementations of further border security and militarization.

In some ways, making ourselves go through the process of consulting on these tactical gestures from the perspective of “improving customer service” and realizing that this process also works to “reduce resistance to the continued increase of border security” — this will aid us in our suspicions around the continued thickening of the border and perhaps help us build in backdoor tactics to these consultancy ideas. We’ll be making a Powerpoint presentation outlining all of our ideas that we’ll try to deliver to Canada Border Services in some way.

Later on at Lebel, Hiba, Josh, and Kevin work on a miniature version of our CAFKA installation to work out some bugs of the build process and get a better idea of just how this will look in real space.

The letters were about 7 inches tall, cut out of this hard board. We’re getting really close to the finalized decision of how we’ll build the full-scale project. Time is crucial. If we had went ahead with what we had planned even a few weeks ago, the project would have been radically different in terms of unnecessary complexity. Reiteration and time spent thinking and rethinking is paying off.

Meanwhile, Danielle, Sara, Rosina, Michelle, and I worked through the layout for our How to Forget the Border Completely publication. We’re looking for a way to collect and distribute the things we’ve been thinking about for this project over the last four or five months, and while we would have loved to do a nice 18×24″ newsprint style publication, the costs are overly enormous for us right now.

Instead we’ll go with 11×17 digital prints with some fun extras. Sara has a ton of experience putting together print projects, and pop-up books.

Danielle and Rosina are going to lead the charge with hand-drawn iterations of their project ideas — border interrupting inventions and a cross-border scavenger hunt geo-caching project of sorts. We’ve decided to lean away from a cleaner design, mostly because I’m the only one who works that way. Danielle, Rosina, and Sara all have an excellent touch and we figured that should be featured in this project.

Sara’s sketchbook.

Hiba’s note to keep track of our materials.

Josh’s notebook.

Josh, back from the shop with the first letter cut out.

This is the retroreflective vinyl, but we’ll be using the prismatic sheeting for the full-scale project.

Josh at the ban saw.

Josh at work.

Kevin and Hiba talk construction.

Planning for getting the centre out of the letter R.

Hiba at the saw.

Kevin working on the letter H.

Josh’s notes from earlier in the day, a mascot for Canada Border Services, Fishy the Fish, who can sniff out fishy activity.

The front and back cover of the HFBC publication. A border portal.

We’re planning to have transparencies in the middle, maybe for our portal project, overlays and such, while all page will pull out to work as independent posters.

Michelle talks borders.

Some reference points: disney little golden books, NYC subway maps, shrinking cities posters, maps as art, instruction manuals, transcriptions, fold-outs,  and pop-ups.

The progress on the letter mockups.

Testing the letters at dusk.

With a flash over a large puddle in the parking lot.

The reflection on the water works really well.

Josh, Kevin and Hiba wait for the sun to go down to test some more…

… and return with the centres cut out of the letter O and two letter Rs. This project made me think that there might be potential to work with more of these small-scale letters and retroreflective vinyl for other projects around the city. More messages that can annotate the city at dusk.

A further angle (on top of the great shots Josh got as well) … it looks so great and is going to serve as a good reference point as we move towards completing the larger-scale letters. More time together = more things done. Excellent Thursday, can’t wait for next week.

How to Forget the Border Completely is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

 

6 Replies to “BCL Report: May 5, 2011 (Big Books & Small Letters)”

  1. Sweet!
    I have some pics of the pond at City Hall, but I may have forgotten a cord in Windsor… so sit tight a little longer.

    In the video there was mention of trying to see things from a border guard’s perspective – Jordan Ebare (who at least Josh knows) used to work at the border, if you want to talk to a former border guard? He’s got a good sense of humour, too, so I’m sure he’d love to hear/see the idea/progress etc. Just a thought?

    1. Would love to see the photos when you get that cord, Lauren. Thanks again for doing that!

      Good call on the border guard, we still definitely have time to get some more interviews in… let’s talk more about this on Friday, Josh.

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