New Project by DodoLab: The River and the Land Sustain You?

This is going to be an incredibly fun project! Our friends at DodoLab finally return to Windsor, make sure you check it out!


A Project by Professor William Starling of DodoLab

May 5 – June 9, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday May 5, 1-4pm
AGW Talk/Tour: Sunday May 6, begins at 1pm

DodoLab and SB Contemporary Art are pleased to announce the visit of the eminently knowledgeable Professor William Starling to the city of Windsor. Prof. Starling has been discretely visiting Windsor over the past two years to study and converse with the vast flock of his species mates that now roost in the understory of the Ambassador Bridge. While his kind is in shocking decline in his home range of Northern Europe and the United Kingdom, starlings remain ubiquitous across North America where the vast undulating clouds of birds (called murmurations) can be a common occurrence, particularly in the Windsor area.

While studying the starling community around Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, the situation on the adjacent Indian Road with its long line of boarded up and empty houses came to his attention. Starlings frequent this neighborhood, and so the professor has been developing a rich inter-species narrative of adaptation to changing environments and the phenomenon of “invasive species” and habitat loss (his areas of expertise).

Professor William Starling’s activities are in conjunction with Windsor’s Mayworks 2012. His stay here includes this exhibition of creative research material from a recent visit to the UK as well as an exhibition tour/talk of Land Marks: Contemporary Photographs from the Art Gallery of Windsor’s collection. The professor can also be found on Sunday morning 11am to 1pm, strolling the Riverside between the Ambassador bridge and the AGW.


Please find below a letter from Professor William Starling to the Citizens of Windsor. We are looking forward to his visit here in Windsor and we hope that will be able to welcome the Professor this Saturday May 5 at SB Contemporary Art. Or, tour and visit with him at the Art Gallery of Windsor on Sunday May 6 afternoon as he discusses the Landmarks collection exhibition. This tour is free to the public and begins at 1pm.

An excerpt from the letter:

Dear Citizens of Windsor, It is with great pleasure that I, the eminently knowledgeable Professor William Starling, have the distinct opportunity of informing you of my recent visits of investigation to your fair city. I have been fortunate, on numerous occasions, to secure handsome lodgings in this city’s centre and it has been my intention to initiate and engage in various forms of inter-species dialogue, to share my extensive knowledge of (and ongoing research on) adaptation to changing environments, the phenomenon of “invasive species” and habitat loss. It is my hope that my presence is welcomed and that some of you will wish to be my guide as I explore the city and that you will even deem it proper to share with me your thoughts in response to the following query.

Dear Windsorians, your official city motto states “The River and the Land Sustain Us” yet I have been set to wonder if this statement still rings true to you or if you require something more? What would this new element of sustenance be? You may respond to my question in one of two ways, by sending me a message at professorstarling@gmail.com or by visiting SB Contemporary Art where the good people of DodoLab have kindly designed and provided for us some lovely black paper starling silhouettes. I would like to request that you take the opportunity to record on said silhouettes that which you feel truly sustains this city today and for the future. Your Starling will be added to a rather unique exposition that opens this coming May 5th and continues through June 9th.

This exhibition is in conjunction with Mayworks Windsor 2012. Please see website for listing of events http://www.artcite.ca/mayworks/

How to Forget the Border Completely, continued: 707PX

Following up on our How to Forget the Border Completely project from last year, collaborator Tom Provost continues to work on ideas around pedestrian border crossings (which you can read all about in the HFBC book!)

Photos and text by Tom Provost


In the summer of 2011, I was in dialogue with Broken City Lab about the idea of forgetting the border… completely! We thought about what could be done at the architectural scale to overcome the enormous divide between Windsor and Detroit. We thought about the possibility of prioritizing pedestrians over industry. We also considered what kind of architectonic could close the gap between the super-human-scale and the individual – a post-industrial dilemma easily visible from the river’s edge. The result was 707PX.

707PX is a speculative project engaging the border cities of Windsor and Detroit in a new entanglement. The geopolitical division acts as an indicator only, a naïve datum. The architecture examines the surreal condition of complete pedestrian dominance with form as an end goal of the process. Ultimately, it is the process that dominates to form a surreal pedestrian condition along the river. The concept became physical after pursuing the connection of past, present, and future incarnations of the river. It began with a map from 1796 that was meticulously traced along both edges, reifying what has now been striated. These new edges were examined as a whole and then as a part. By repeatedly scaling and the slicing them into multiple sections, it quickly revealed an allegiance to an old-world geographic division native to its very own history – the French ribbon farm. The ribbon farms are noticeable on the map from 1796 as they indicate human presence. They are cordoned off plots, extending narrowly and perpendicular to the river. By alluding back to this system, the architecture can interfere with the modern schema at the human scale.

The multiple collections of river’s edge sections are then distributed evenly on their respective sides, in sequential order. The sequence creates tactility close to rippling, with a rhythm clearly visible on both sides. With the border as a datum, both sides dialogue and seesaw at various moments, creating subito and crescendo. The finale occurs when the sequence, thought of as attached to a string, is lifted and becomes conformed to the unique, precise, and mathematical geopolitical division. It should be noted that the 1796 map omits division. The river appears as a singular moving force between bodies of and is left graphically plain. The form of 707PX reifies the singularity of the river by adjoining both cities and entertaining a pedestrian agenda. This investigation answers the question of how one is to forget the border while simultaneously subverting its presence.

Earlier This Week In the Basement of BCL HQ

IMG_5441

Monday night was another huge brainstorming session with some new and old friends. We spent most of the evening trying to figure out the potentials in doing something like a floating sculpture in the Detroit River. We’ve discussed this before, and it seems that the space between what we’d really like to do and reality is quite large.

That’s part of the fun though, how do you generate some kind of communication across borders without alerting the authorities, or how do you manage the headaches of going through the proper channels?

At some point we headed down to the basement and looked at a kayak Rod made when he was in grade 8 (pictured above). We wondered if it could act as a potential substrate for one part of the project. Though we talked about projects like the Waterpod Project or Andrea Zittel’s Pocket Property Floating Island project, it became fairly clear that anything we could do in the short-term would need to involve a kind of very limited-duration kind of exchange between Windsor and Detroit.

We also talked about a kind of guided tours of neighbourhoods in Windsor and Detroit (and while these have already been happening), the difference here would be to exchange with a group of folks from Detroit, so that we give them a list or map to see parts of our city, while we get to head across for a neighbourhood level tour of places in Detroit!

Robofish Detects Environmental Pollutants

robofish

Designed at MIT, this robotic fish can swim to detect environmental pollutants in the water and inspect oil and gas pipelines.

Check Natalie Jeremijenko for interesting environmental monitoring projects that cross art and science, and imagine how good this could be for charting the flow of pollution in the Detroit River.

[via Inhabitat]