American artist Alyson Shotz constructed this large-scale picket fence from strips of mirror and placed it in a natural setting as a sort of suggested barrier or delineation of space. The project was a commissioned installation for Storm King Art Center in New York. What intrigues me most is the variety of views that are possible with this installation. From some angles it almost completely disappears, leaving you with the sensation of a photograph with an obscure horizontal smear across the center (like below).
Yesterday morning on Pelissier was very loud and hectic. When I arrived there was about 3 feet of sidewalk space in front of 406. It was another eventful day as we were joined by The Swap Shop . I did some catching up with Jefferson, Julie and Andrea as well.
21,633 feet of salvaged nylon string was strung between the two parallel fences over a 24-hour period to spell out FREE in a fenced-off parking lot for the AGO.
We’ve written about Sean Martindale’s green sleeves in the past, and with this project, I really liked how the string stretched across the lot and connected the two sides. I just wish the entire lot had been done.
We’re doing some field tests of our magnetic planters with some plants in them. Basically, we want to test to make sure the soil isn’t drying out too quickly and we’re also checking to see how well some plants respond to transplants. Above, you can see there’s a wire around the planter that helps it to keep its shape—some of the planters without a wide edge on either side are more prone to open up really wide at the top, which makes it difficult for the soil to fill the planter uniformly. Without it, the soil eventually sinks and adding any more soil would risk making the planter too heavy for the magnet.
Michelle’s running these tests, checking on the plants daily and testing a few varieties of planter shapes in preparation of the installation of all of our planters sometime in the next week or so.
I’m sure there will never be a lack of fence-related interventions, but this one in particular seemed worth posting. Small and simple, but the technique is so obvious and effective (if likely slow-going), I had to add it to our research archives.
Now that Intersession is done, we’ve finally been able to put that downtown space to some use. Cristina and I spent the better part of the day in the space, using it basically as an office, but we’ll be there at least one more day this week and potentially one day on the weekend picking up where we left off on some older projects and inevitably starting some new ones.
On today’s agenda: see the new hybrid buses and look for some Text In-Transit signs (which we found), set up a small work area in the space, make some preliminary decisions about our book so we can get started on it, and photograph a new research site.
Also, we’re looking for any biodegradable plastic bags you may have (hint: Bulk Barn gives out biodegradable bags) for another project. If you have any, please drop them off at 406 Pelissier. We’ll be there Tuesday from 12noon until around 4pm.
The rain held off, so today was a good day to get out and do some field tests for our magnetic planters. We just stuck around the neighbourhood, but did a general test to see what surfaces were magnetic. Unfortunately, the street signs that I had anticipated being a perfect surface for these are not magnetic, but chain link fences are, along with some other random surfaces.
We’ll continue with research on making these planters this week, but also start to think of what we can stamp / stencil / draw onto the flat surface of these.
There is a lot of great work by SpY, so I’m not entirely sure why I chose to post on this work, other than maybe it was the most dissimilar from ideas that we’ve had in the past. Fabricating these letters picture above that can stand as an urban fence or bike rack, SpY typically works by inserting humourous (though always necessarily political) objects, infrastructures, texts, and images into the cityscape.
Starting as a graffiti artist in the mid-eighties, SpY has since moved into interventionist territories, all of which is entirely worth a look at over at his website.
Today is the 1 year anniversary of the conversation I had with Danielle that sparked the idea for Broken City Lab. We had just finished eating dinner, I was doing the dishes, and we were talking about what protest means today, and how to move beyond protest towards social change. Right after the conversation, I wrote a one-page description of what a concentrated effort to change things in the city incrementally through artistic practice might look like and titled it Broken City Lab.
It wasn’t until later on in the summer last year that a few of us got together as Broken City Lab, and we started to carve out, rewrite, rethink, and actually do the things that has made BCL what it is now. I just wanted to make a little note, even just for myself, about what was happening a year ago and what we’ve done since then.
So, as an anniversary gift to you, here are some interesting things I’ve read and seen recently: