Michelle and I spent hours and hours together yesterday. With everyone’s schedules fairly ridiculous at the moment, we’re trying to steal what little time we can to keep working. Lately, the time that we’ve all spent together has been framed exclusively almost exclusively by planning for Save the City or organizing the Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation, and so we’re usually burned out after a couple hours of that. Last night though, we pushed past the moment of getting burned out, and I think we got somewhere because of it.
We started our Friday night with a Skype call to Chris from the Department of Unusual Certainties regarding their project as part of the Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation (they are very enthusiastic, and their projects is going to be really, really great), had some dinner, tried to imagine what will come after SRSI, and then moved on to sorting out the billboards for the last part of Save the City.
We had a lot of bad ideas. Had we stopped earlier on, today and tomorrow would have been filled with some scrambling efforts to find the finish the design, emailing it out to everyone, trying to integrate everyone’s suggestions (and likely failing to do it well), sending it out again, getting more input, etc., etc., etc. Not entirely effective, nor can that process really capture the really great sparking moments of working together in the same room (the reason, I love collaborative work).
We really want these billboards to not just cap off Save the City, not just describe or some how summarize what we’ve learned, but continue with this conversation that we’ve been having. So, we had some terrible ideas for a long while, but we moved through them, we wrote them all down, then crossed them all out eventually, and it was the process of doing that, of really talking about where we were trying to go without knowing where we were going that was entirely worth it. I think we started the billboard brainstorming around 7:30pm were ready to give up around 9pm and we were there until 11pm still finalizing things. And, they’re still not finalized yet, but they’re close.
And we didn’t just brainstorm, we did the preliminary layout(s) together, we critiqued as we went, and it was so completely worth the exhaustion. Danielle called, thankfully, so we could check our work with someone outside of that room to make sure we hadn’t missed anything obvious, and then we were done, and we’re very, very excited to see these go up.
I hope the summer allows more opportunities for this — a lot of time spent together doing things, working through problems together, in the same room, until we get somewhere better than where we started.
The artwork goes out Monday, and I think the billboards launch mid-month.
Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.