DIY Community for Youth – A Great Model for Learning Independently

DIY.org

This is a bit of an unusual post I suppose, but something about this resource, DIY.org, struck a chord with me. Independent learning can be an incredible way for people to acquire skills outside of or alongside traditional education. An issue that seems to be gaining popularity in the discourse around traditional education is the speed by which it adapts to the world around it (read: too slowly). Services like DIY.org might just be the future of out-of-class learning for youth, and hopefully adults as well.

I also like how the modules are laid out. Each skill has its own hexagonal graphic and an amusing tagline (like the one for “beatmaker” in particular). I think it would make me want to finish them all. Some of the skills also seem to be geared towards building a future of doing things yourself, like beekeeping, making clothing, and repairing bicycles. Did I mention you earn a patch when you master a skill?

via: TreeHugger

Detroit Je T’aime – a new interactive documentary

Lafayette Coney Island from Detroit je t’aime on Vimeo.

Nora Mandray (director/producer) and Hélène Bienvenu (co-producer) are part of a growing group of people who believe that Detroit, MI, is a laboratory for the city of tomorrow. They’re a duo of French filmmakers/journalists, and they’ve been working for over a year on an interactive documentary project supported by the French Film Institute. DETROIT JE T’AIME tells the story of the DIY spirit that’s leading the Motor City’s transition from the assembly line into a new collaborative economy.

DETROIT JE T’AIME is an interactive documentary that weaves together three stories of com- munity-building in the post-industrial era. It follows a group of female mechanics, an urban farmer and an activist hacker who are each working to transform Detroit into a sustainable city through small-scale DIY projects.

Here’s the interactive part:

* DETROIT JE T’AIME will be broadcasted on a website made up of a series of web pages or “screens.” Each screen will feature a video.

* When you decide you’re finished with a page, you’ll click on the next one. You’ll be taken through the documentary at your own pace.

* At anytime, a “DIY toolbox” will be available in the corner of the screen. The “DIY Toolbox” will adapt itself to the story: guidelines and tools will suggest you to start similar projects depending on what’s happening on the screen (be it a community garden, basic bike repairs, or an LED light project.)

* You’ll be able to share ideas from the film with your friends across social networks.

* Through each screen/video, you’ll have access to a different Detroit neighborhood — historic background will be provided through datavisualization, interviews and/or archival footage.

There’s also a Kickstarter page (they’re looking for funding until the end of July 2012).

And, on the short video above:

Detroit and Lafayette Coney Island has the best coney hot dogs in the world (so say Detroiters). The chili, mustard and onion topped super fast treat is a Detroit staple that simply can’t be argued with. Whether occasional delights on the way to a Red Wings, Tigers’, Lions’ game or daily food, the experience is pure Detroit. The classic style of the small Downtown space recants the Motor City glory days, the customers joke with the Yemeni cooks and the waiters do magic tricks… Mind you it’s hot! ')}

Designing & Prototyping tools for intervention: Letter Library + Gif Party

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (1)

Wednesday afternoon shifts into further work on testing the efficacy of the styrofoam letters being black. We’re trying to decide in anticipation of our Letter Library (A Collection of Alphabetic Interventions).

 

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (2)

Sara and Hiba painted.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (3)

HELLO.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (4)

Also, Kiki came by to help us paint the movable wall!

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (5)

And, Josh made these for a workshop he’s giving through our friends at the Arts Council Windsor & Region.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (6)

The pile of cut-offs.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (7)

After the letters dried, I went outside and started to do some test installation. The black works well in the space, but outside, the shadows can destroy some of the legibility.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (8)

On lighter surfaces though, it works well.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (9)

Those shadows are difficult though.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (10)

From across the street.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (11)

On glass.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (12)

Inside, we discuss the possibility of keeping the letters white, but using a black background to help them stand out.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (13)

This could work, but would be a huge pain installing. This remains unresolved.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (14)

On to other ideas … we start wondering about creating a tool to assist with installing the letters in high places.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (15)

An old dental tool and some tape for the test.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (16)

It works fairly well…

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (17)

But, it needs refining.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (18)

Some evidence of where the letters were punctured.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (19)

Gash.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (20)

So, Josh starts a redesign.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (21)

And Sara left notes about what to finish up on the postcard.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (22)

A detail of Josh’s latest design for our letter installation tool.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (23)

For a quick demo, a dust pan will suffice.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (24)

It will cradle the letter, but also act as a brace to help stick the letter to the wall.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (25)

Josh testing.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (26)

The scrap and push.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (27)

Looks promising.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (28)

It works!

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (29)

Josh demonstrates the techinque.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (30)

Then, another revision…

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (31)

It’s though that we need the option to have a smaller surface to work with letters that will not stand up on their own in the dust pan scenario.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (32)

Out the door…

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (33)

…more tape.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (34)

A reaching test.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (36)

Adjusting the placement of the letter on the screw.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (37)

Attempt #2.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (38)

And it’s up!

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (39)

The letter O.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (40)

Josh reviews the rig.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (41)

Then, loftier attempts.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (42)

 

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (43)

 

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (44)

And, in closing … some animated gifs from Hiba, Kevin, and Josh’s scrape dust-pan attempts.

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (45)

 

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (46)

 

Styrofoam letter tests for our Letter Library Project (47)

Yes, it was a good day.

First Decisions of the Day … and notes from breakfast

Letter decisions - should we paint them black or white

First decisions of the day to be made — whether to commit or not to painting the letters black or white. Somehow this has been one of the longest ongoing discussions we’ve had for a while. The next step though is to paint and test in the wild.

Distance viewing of the styrofoam letters

The letters from the table view.

Notes from a meeting with Kika Thorne

Notes from a meeting with the wonderful Kika Thorne. She’s coming back to Windsor in September for a project with the AGW.

Our first piece of mail showed up today from Hamilton

Our first piece of mail showed up today from our friends at Hamilton Artist Inc.

Ms. vickie's breakfast of champions

Also, breakfast of champions with Kika — Ms. Vickie’s Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar with coffee from Milk.

And, in between, a meeting with the City of Windsor and the Arts Council Windsor & Region — good things ahead.

Tuesday Recap: in case you missed it, super jigsaw rig, graphic design in progress & other notes

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (29)

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (2)

In case you missed any of our spontaneous posts earlier today, here’s a quick recap of all the stuff that we got done!

It may look a little strange, but our jigsaw rig Kevin put together has really been a huge help today. Hiba made it through nearly 70 letters — and no wrist pain!

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (4)

Some final touches like this shim helped us to get it fine-tuned earlier today.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (1)

We had the cutting speed fairly high, and initially the jigsaw wasn’t quite locked down enough, so our cuts weren’t as straight as we would have liked.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (21)

However, once we got it all locked down, Hiba started speeding through the letters, which is completely necessary. We have about 400 letters to cut.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (3)

But, before that, Lucy came by to starting planning a project / event with Hiba and get up to speed with how things have been moving along here at CIVIC SPACE.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (7)

Lucy did a kick ass job with our press releases late last month and we’re really happy she’s back! This is how she is currently keeping track of things.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (5)

It was a full house today, Rosina and Sara came by and double-teamed some design work that needs to get done ASAP in preparation for our launch next Thursday!

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (6)

We’re still pulling from these notes that we took during a meeting a couple weeks ago as we start to assemble a basic schedule design.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (8)

Hiba made this note.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (9)

I spent the afternoon working on some answers for an interview.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (10)

Hiba flipped back to cutting more letters.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (11)

The library thus far.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (12)

Here’s a ribbon from a gift from DodoLab. Reminds me how much I love that gold printing / plating (what is it really called?) reminds me of track and field ribbons.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (13)

Snow storm.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (14)

Notes on the back of our window facade frame that Kevin came in to continue work on.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (15)

Rosina brought a polaroid camera and we instagramed old school.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (16)

Also, Rosina started to work with our new stamp as she finessed the design of our library card.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (17)

XW.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (18)

I took a break and added some bunting to the construction zone in front of our place.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (19)

I also painted the jigsaw blades that we had in waiting with more nail polish.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (20)

Z!

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (22)

The remaining letters for the day.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (23)

Hiba announcing her record time to cut 4 letters, or 6 letters or something.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (24)

The back of our library card being designed.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (25)

Kevin further bracing the face of our window facade.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (26)

Rosina at work!

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (27)

Stamp sizing.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (28)

Plotting our the date and letters checked-out setup for the back of our letter library card.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (29)

The back of the postcard in progress that Sara and I were tossing back and forth.

Tuesday at CIVIC SPACE with design sessions, styrofoam letters, bunting, meetings, and polaroids (31)

Broken City Lab in the 1970s.

 Tomorrow: some meetings, some guest cutters, and a lot more fun. We’re here between 11am and 4pm, if you’re in the hood.

Sarah Margolis-Pineo on Curatorial Practices

Sarah Margolis-Pineo presenting at Homework

This is part of an ongoing set of one-question emails sent to people we know, or would like to get to know, about things that interest us and inform our collective practice. They’ll be featured on the site weekly, usually on Fridays. These questions are more about unfolding ideas than about the people we’re asking, but we do ask those kinds of questions too.

We’re pleased to continue this project with a question for a recent presenter at our Homework conference and curator at Cranbrook Art Museum, Sarah Margolis-Pineo.


Does the role of a curator need to be redefined to meet the ever-shifting demands of contemporary practices or is it a useful anchor to continually reaffirm the boundaries of contemporary art?

It seems to me that curatorial practice has been in continuous flux since the 1970s, and the field will continue shift in relation to various forces including changing creative practices, but also in response to the ebbs of global economies, social and political discourses, new media platforms, and the role of the cultural institution within localities. The late twentieth century saw the emergence of the curator-artist, (not to be confused with the artist-curator), who used the exhibition as a platform to participate in the production of meaning opposed to a venue for preservation and didacticism. In the current moment, the curator can operate simultaneously as community organizer and cultural theorist, bringing together works and projects that are generative—cultivating discourse that contributes to the fabric of social and cultural life both regionally and globally. It’s my feeling that the integration of curatorial practice studies into nearly every MFA program at least in the US is a testament to the evolving nature of the field. Emerging curators are trained in tandem with emerging artists, their practices linked by shared interests, and diverge only in media.

I’m assuming your question also serves to unpack how curators will continue to address creative dark matter, which is understood as the vast majority of artistic practice including tactical media, DIY, and artisanal projects, that exist in the shadow of the art world, and further, reject mainstream visibility all together. In part, this work falls in the trajectory of the countercultural movement for its Drop City mentality that relies on craft and sustainable design; but further, it relates to avant-garde resistance that forged alternative cultural spaces, intervened in everyday urban life, and openly critiqued the institution. It’s my assumption that the biennial phenomenon which exploded all over the last decade of the twentieth century rose to meet the demands of alternative creative practices by offering a site for project-based work outside the traditional art institution, (which often strategically ignored the connection between the global art exhibition and political hegemony). It seems that in many ways, the grand show global biennial has been played out, and artists and collectives are again forging new spaces—often aided by 2.0 media, as venues for exhibition, performance, and participation. My question as an emerging curator is how can the museum and regional arts space evolve to become a viable venue for the nebulous dark matter that employs creative practice as a site for social and political engagement? Can cultural producers be complicit with the structure of the institution, exploiting the qualities of the institution that makes it, well, institutional—the Foucauldian heterotopia, an otherspace, separated from everyday life? In essence, how can this unique iteration of cultural practice operate from within established spaces, simultaneously making use of and changing the architecture of institutions?

Apologies for addressing your question with additional questions! All I can say with certainty is that the figure of the curator is as much an anchor as the figure of the artist. The two practices are intertwined to contribute to the larger field of cultural work, and I’m eager to participate in this collaborative well into the new century.


Sarah Margolis-Pineo is a curator and writer. She received her MA in Exhibition and Museum Theory from San Francisco Art Institute in 2008, and has worked in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York. Currently, she is the Jeanne and Ralph Graham Curatorial Fellow at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Scratch Markup Language (.sml)

 

 

From FAT (Free Art & Technology):

SML (Scratch Markup Language) is a new file format for recording and replaying turntablism. We’ve developed open-source tools for accurately capturing the record and crossfader movements of a scratch DJ, allowing us to analyze, transcribe, and recreate scratch performances.

We want to do for turntablism what Graffiti Markup Language has done for tagging — especially teaching giant robot arms how to scratch.

At Art Hack Day we collaborated with other artists and programmers to develop the first prototypes of ScratchML. We used timecode vinyl to capture record movements ($10) and a hacked VCA fader + Arduino to record the crossfader ($30).

Scratch data was saved to disk as .sml and broadcast as OSC, which allowed other Art Hack Day participants to build visualizations based on what the DJ was scratching during the exhibition. The apps ranged from spinning-vinyl animations and TTM transcriptions to insane exploding 3D pizzas and a side-scrolling videogame shooter controlled by scratches.

Our goal is to make capturing, replaying, and sharing a scratch performance accurate and easy. SML files can be freely uploaded and downloaded from the ScratchML.com database. We’re particularly looking forward to improving the experience of learning how to scratch — e.g. by building apps that show you just how accurate your autobahn scratches actually are.

Throughout the week here on FAT we’ll be publishing ScratchML projects created during Art Hack Day, data specs, source code, hardware modification details and more.

Want to get involved? Join the ScratchML mailing list, follow us on GitHub, or email mewith any questions. More info to come at scratchML.com

Not sure what else to add.

I’m pretty sure that this is where all digital culture schools, programs, and practices will be heading — thinking about how to encapsulate data that we might normally take for granted, creating solutions very quickly and inexpensively, making it insanely fun, opening it all up for the world to use, and fostering big imaginations.

Mail(Art)

Thanks to an email Justin had sent me a few days ago, I’ve discovered the existence of mail art!

Sometimes, I miss the qualities of snail mail; the anticipation of its arrival, receiving it, and the heartfelt ingredients  inside of it.

Lately, I’ve been all about sending letters. The photo above is one of three top secret birthday letters.

Justin referred me to Hyperallergic, a grand site-of-all-trades (or a blogazine, as they’ve coined)  that houses creative ideas, ways of thinking, projects, and ridiculous amounts of other things pertaining to art and it’s discontents.

What I really enjoyed was their Mail Art Bulletin, an endeavour that invites anyone to submit their own personalized letter to be posted on their bulletin and  in turn is featured on their blog for everyone to see. I’m going to spend one of my free nights working on a surprise of my own to send in!

Continue reading “Mail(Art)”

Robo-Rainbow: instruments of mass destruction

This has already been passed around a number of blogs, but thought it was worth noting on here — this one goes out to Michelle.

Robo-Rainbow is a work by Akay, as part of his instruments of mass destruction (complicated technical solution to aide in simple acts of vandalism).

via today and tomorrow