Conflux City – Algorithmic Subway Adventure in New York City

BCL confluxcity

Back in July, Broken City Lab sent out a proposal to Conflux City 2009, which is a subset of the New York City festival for contemporary psychogeography, Conflux Festival. In August we found out that we were not only accepted into the festival, but we are also one of the featured projects of the program!

For the Conflux City 2009 program, we will be conducting psychogeographical urban research on the experiences of everyday life on the subways in New York through the activation of New York field agents. We will enlist the participation of numerous New Yorkers and visitors to the city to travel the subways and interact with their surroundings using a computer-generated algorithm that we create. This highly concentrated activity of paying attention to and disrupting the everyday on the New York subways will allow us to examine urban interactions in a well-functioning city.

In detail, participants are asked to bring their digital cameras to the walk. If they do not own a digital camera, the participants are still able to participate in the walk because we will be separating the field agents into groups, assuring there is at least one camera per section. We will provide the participants with a list of 25 randomly assembled steps in algorithmic form, and they will have a 2-hour timeslot with which to complete each of the 25 steps. We ask any one who is interested in our Algorithmic Subway Adventure to meet us at noon on Sunday, September 20th, 2009 at Union Square Station.

Photographs from the Algorithmic Subway Adventures will allow us to visually review what it means to participate in personal and community engagement in a city that we imagine being the epitome of social urban functionality. Our interest in New York as a site of this research is situated in the city’s distinct difference to our city, where the scale of urban adventure and research is not only incredibly larger, but also occurring within an entirely different context, one that is critical for us to understand in our ongoing research.


Welcome to the Neighbourhood

Welcome to the Neighbourhood

We’re hosting an algorithmic adventure to get to know our new neighbourhood. This adventure will be a psychogeographic walk of sorts starting at Broken City Lab Headquarters, which will take participants around the campus, student ghettos, the sculpture garden, Indian Road, and all of the little things that make this area worth exploring.

Everyone who shows up will get into small groups and share a list of instructions that will take them around the neighbourhood. These instructions will involve moving in specific directions, taking on specific tasks, and generally paying specific attention to the area around you. At each step in the algorithm, you’ll be asked to take a single photograph. At the end of the algorithm, when you return to BCL HQ, we’ll download your photos and upload them to our site to create a set of very specific views of the neighbourhood and generate a body of research on West Windsor much greater than we could ever do on our own.

This event will launch our fall activities and be the first of many open-house type events / workshops / office hours for 2009 / 2010!!!

The details:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Start at 362 California Ave at 7pm

End at 362 California Ave around 9pm

Bring your camera and bring a friend!

Broken City Lab: A Consultancy

a consultancy

We’ll be taking over 406 Pelissier from June 8th-28th and setting up a consultancy to research, investigate, and imagine alternative uses for the entire parking structure located at the corner of Park and Pelissier. Invented studies, statistics, and illustrations will be exhibited and will result in a formal report / action plan for future initiatives in Windsor’s downtown core.

Along with Julie Sando’s Contemporary Visual Culture class show, CVC Citizen Show (running at 424 Pelissier), we’ll have a reception of sorts on June 11th, from 8-11pm in both spaces.

We’ll be working in the space (406 Pelissier) off and on throughout the month.

Urban Mediations

urban mediations

Thursday, May 14 going to be an incredible day: Urban Mediations, a one-day symposium on urban media studies is taking place in Windsor. Co-organized by the University of Windsor’s own, Dr. Michael Darroch, the symposium will involve a collection of researchers, artists, designers, and activists talking about what it means to research the urban.

I’ll be speaking on Broken City Lab, and Danielle will be talking about architecture of urban refugees, among many other fine thinkers, doers, and writers.

Exhibition Opening at AGW

Broken City Lab at the Art Gallery of Windsor

There’s an opening for two shows in which I’m participating on Friday, April 17, 2009, 7pm at the Art Gallery of Windsor.

On the first floor is the University of Windsor MFA Graduate Exhibition, Without, featuring documentation from various Broken City Lab projects alongside work by Steven Leyden Cochrane, and Henrjeta Mece, and on the second floor is the 2009 Windsor Biennial, with a large-scale graph outlining ideas and activities for re-imagining cross-border relations alongside too many other great area artists to name. As part of the Biennial, Broken City Lab will be working in Windsor and Detroit towards the realization of some of these activities throughout May and June (more details to follow).

The shows run from April 10 – June 5 and April 17 – July 5 respectively.

Scavenge The City

Scavenge the City: An Algorithmic Walk with Broken City Lab

SCAVENGE THE CITY: An Algorithmic Walk with Broken City Lab is happening on Sunday, March 29th at 6pm. Starting at Phog Lounge, we’ll be handing out a custom algorithm (a set of instructions), using a fancy computer program that we write, to take you and whomever you want to walk with, around the downtownish area of Windsor to discover, uncover, note, photograph, and invent. 

This isn’t a traditional scavenger hunt—we won’t be placing anything around the city for you to find—instead, the instructions will ask you to do specific things in less specific places, to try to encourage not just experiencing new places, but experience them in new ways.

The walk should wrap up by 10pm and then back at Phog we’ll share stories, videos, photographs, drawings, etc, of our adventures. Whether you’ve already come out to one of the previous hugely successful walking themed events in Windsor (Big Walk, or the Spacing Walk) or haven’t taken a stroll downtown in years, we would love to have you share on this adventure with us!!!

Rewriting Windsor

Smorgasborder 02: Rewriting Windsor

This Thursday, March 5th we’ll be in the basement of Lambton Tower: Studio A to remix / rewrite Windsor’s history. We’ll be remixing visuals and sounds from Windsor’s history, but also looking to collaboratively and collectively write a personal / fictional / “what you can remember” history of Windsor, which we’ll later publish as a book with everyone in attendance as a co-author.

The event is free and starts at 7:30pm sharp. Presented as part of NoiseBorder.

Making Things Happen (For A Week Straight)

From March 2 – 6, 2009, BROKEN CITY LAB be taking over the Lebel Gallery as a project site. Though we’re using the gallery, this isn’t going to be a normal exhibition; the space is going to function as a big collective office / studio for everyone, so we can work on a number of ongoing projects simultaneously and in a sustained way. Consider it week-long office hours.

And instead of an opening, we’re going to work in the Noiseborder space in the basement of Lambton Tower on Thursday, March 5th at 7pm, in a yet-to-be-announced activity (stay tuned). 

Mark the dates and leave some time to come by and participate. We’ll be posting more details on everything happening that week soon.

Talk20 / Pecha Kucha

Talk20 in Windsor, Ontario at Artcite

Organized by local artist Jodi Green, the Windsor iteration of Talk20 happens on Thursday, February 19th, and will feature six-minute presentations by Mita Williams, Rod Strickland, Tom Lucier, Pina and Adriano Ciotoli, Andrew Foot, and Justin Langlois.

“Talk20 is not a lecture but a gathering, an open forum for the dissemination of ideas in art, architecture and design.  Produced in cities around the world talk20 has emerged as a live catalogue of contemporary creative production that seeks to instigate a conversation within and without the design community.”

The presentations start at 7:30pm at Artcite. See you there!