I saw this and it made me think of our discussion last week on a new project somehow (un)officially demarcating important people in Windsor.
From the article, discussing one particular laneway named after a local family who own a nearby bakery:
The laneway is one of three in the Harbord Village that recently got a name memorializing community members. The local residents association has been working on a project for the past two years to name all 26 laneways in its neighbourhood, nestled between the Annex and Kensington Market. Currently, the names are being reviewed by city staff (to avoid any duplication) and will likely come before council in February or March.
It made me think about how we might consider scaling up or scaling out the project we had discussed — maybe we should try to name all the alleyways in the city?
Over the last month, I’ve become rather interested in the work of Gene Sharp. He has published numerous books and journals that discuss, analyze and present realistic alternatives to violent action.
One of the most fascinating documents in his work is a list of 198 methods of non-violent action. The document breaks down the methods into three categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention.
In the last 30 year span of protest and revolution, many of these tactics have been proven worthy and effective by people putting them to practice.
In terms of our practice, I can’t help but reflect on how many of these tactics we’ve used in the past and even more interestingly, which ones we can use in future.
Check out the methods here.
“…we know that politics is absolutely the heart and soul of what might seem like design projects because it’s about who makes decisions, who has more power and influence than others to shape cities. Designers typically either run away from or ignore politics and political structures, and that’s impossible if you want to have any impact. You need to understand it, and you need to, A), understand the political structures, why decisions are made in certain ways and not others, B), embrace it, not be afraid of it, and C), probably most importantly, challenge it.”
–emphasis mine, from an interview with Aseem Inam, Director of the MA Theories of Urban Practice, and Miguel Robles-Duran, Director of the MS Design and Urban Ecologies, from Parsons The New School for Design on This Big City
I suppose I find this most useful in framing the way that I approach thinking about our practice. I often try to discuss all supporting aspects of our collective activity as important as any projects we pull off, because I think that it’s in all the peripheral parts of actually getting things done that we rigourously invest in playing with the structures that prop up all of those peripheral parts, and maybe, eventually, slowly begin to change them to begin creating the types of structures that we want to see.
While there’s a given song structure, at any time, anyone on stage can trigger loops, restructure the song, and introduce new elements, all while moving in a common direction, but without knowing exactly when they’ve arrived at their destination.
Maybe a good model for thinking about collaboration.
Has this already been done somewhere? The idea of creating grade sheets for things in the city and then a space for comments or something? Might we take it on too?
This photo is of a page in the book Waking Up from the Nightmare of Participation, I think it’s a template of an evaluation form for an academic paper, by Melanie O’Brian of Meissen’s thesis, The Nightmare of Participation.
My Torontonian friend Siobhan recently pointed me in the direction of her friend Dave Murray, who makes these awesome type maps of Toronto areas. He then silkscreens these images by hand onto paper. I also suggest checking out the illustrations on his site.
“…the specific openness or porosity of contemporary art for instance has functioned as a weird kind of hosting system: as a kind of asylum for various cultural forms and encounters apparently impossible elsewhere.”
– from Michael Hirsch’s Professional Amateurs, Outsiders, Intruders – On the Utopia of Transdisciplinary Work in the Cultural Field in “Waking up from the Nightmare of Participation”.
KN: One of the things you hope to explore in this project is what ‘use’ might be. But why should art be useful? Arguably, an important point of art is not to have a ‘use’, in a literal sense, but to be something else in our lives.
TB: All art is useful. But the Spanish word for useful, útil, also means ‘tool’. So we are talking about art as a social tool, as well, which has a long tradition that I want to re-evaluate.
–from “Useful Art” by Kathy Noble from Frieze Magazine, issue 144, emphasis mine
Makerbot founder Bre Pettis and collaborator Kio Stark gave themselves exactly 20 minutes to create a manifesto encapsulating everything they knew about bring a creative vision to life. They called it The Done Manifesto.
Here’s the list:
- There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
- Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
- There is no editing stage.
- Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
- Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
- The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
- Once you’re done you can throw it away.
- Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
- People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
- Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
- Destruction is a variant of done.
- If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
- Done is the engine of more.
“…making art entails a permanent state of negotiation with many nodes of the circuit network — so that reaching the actual artwork is only possible after outrunning mediator after mediator; layer after layer; ultimately, what can be considered an artwork is a cluster of multiple explicit interests, including, fortunately, the artists’ proposals.”