Parking Lot Put Put

Day 2 of the Putting Lot construction

For New Yorkers (and Windsorites—unless there is a mini golf course I am unaware of that isn’t on the outskirts, punctuated with a pink elephant) who don’t usually get to experience the glory that is miniature golf, this project provides them (and potentially us) with the oppurtunity.

In Bushwick Brooklyn artists are taking over empty parking lots and transforming them into 9 hole mini golf games, each hole designed by a different artist.

The Putting Lot seeks to transform vacant space into community spaces. The group’s intention is to inspire imagination and provoke conversations about community sustainability.

This project makes me think of the median astroturf along Dougall and how BCL et al. can “redistrubute” the turf to make a Windsor version of the putting lot.

Fritz Haeg: Edible Estates

Fritz Haeg- Edible Estates

Frtiz Haeg is a difficult person to write about. That is, he has had some considerable press coverage over the last few years, much of which from the major TV networks casts him in a kind of strange “green” light, and whether he’s described as an artist, architect, gardener, or designer, Fritz Haeg (in practice) seems to dodge all of these titles. He’s not nearly as eloquent as Natalie Jerimijenko (though her Ooz Inc. project and his Animal Estates project are fairly similar), yet he does craft some very exciting language around being a catalyst for community activity, and so while I’ve seen his work in a number of places over the last year or so, I thought it was finally time to post it.

The project that seemed most appropriate to note is his Edible Estates, an ongoing collection of front-yard or community gardens across the US, where he basically directs the tearing up of suburban grass farms to replace them with vegetables and native plants. The image above is from Maplewood, New Jersey.

I’ve seen a few front yards in Windsor and Essex County without grass, but I’d be interested to know where they are specifically, or if there are others hidden throughout the area. Maybe instead of one community garden in Sandwich, we should be pushing for the transformation of all the front yards on a block to be one, big connected garden? Yes, we should.

Interactivos? re:farm the city

re:farm sensors

re:farm the city is a low-tech urban / community garden project of sorts. The image above is a part of that low tech. This is a simple monitoring system developed using Arduino and Processing that will track humidity levels in six planters and alert the gardener if they get too low (essentially broadcasting that they are in need of watering).

The project is aimed at developing a series of tools that would enable city-dwellers to grow and monitor an urban garden using open-software and open-hardware and as much recycled materials as possible. It also focuses on new ways of visualizing and understanding relationships between plants situated in close or distanced proximity to one another.

I’ve been anxious to get into learning more Arduino for a while, but we haven’t seemed to have an appropriate project as of yet. Maybe there are some ways to include some technology that would aid in the educational element of our community garden…

[via  we make money not art ]

Community Garden Site

the heritage sign

I went out to the site for our proposed community garden to take some photos yesterday. It’s looking fairly likely that this will be the site for our community garden starting this summer. This park is located at Russell and Mill near the Sandwich windmill. We’re still working out all the details, but everything has been really positive so far. Many more details to follow, but for now, I just started to visually map out there area.

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Planning for Spring

Cristina takes a look over the Text In-Transit Submissions

Despite the snow, the lethargy onset by exam schedules and year-end assignments, and a few core BCL folk leaving town for the summer, we had a great and productive meeting. We started going through the Text In-Transit submissions, continued working on our magnetic planters, worked on our Rhizome commission, brainstormed the idea of a book, and started to refine our ideas for our community garden (more details on this soon).

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Detroit UnReal Estate Community Lab

Detroit UnReal Estate Agency

Detroit UnReal Estate Agency has been making some considerable headway in their project that aims at “new types of urban practices (architectural, artistically, institutional, everyday life, etc) that came into existence, creating a new local ‘normality’ and a new value system in the city of Detroit.

For a while, I had some difficulty in pinning down exactly what the Agency was doing—certainly, they were doing research and writing on Detroit and its history and current conditions and putting up custom real estate signs  indicating specific unrealities. Beyond that though, I had some difficulty in understanding what the project was, likely limited by my own capacity in keeping up with their site and a fluctuating amount of posting ranging from solely photographs to heavier lengthy texts.

However, they’ve recently been very active again, no doubt thanks to the visit of their Dutch counterparts. They’ve recently published on their blog, a new strategic plan of sorts. Their most recent post reads, “One plan we’re working on now is a combination of a new masterplan + a cooperative ownership system + a business plan – A Community Lab.

This is incredibly exciting! Crisis leads to ingenuity.


GROUNDWORK from Render

I saw this on Render’s blog, and considering our work towards an artist-led community garden, I had to repost it. Not much to look at lightly dusted in snow, but the idea is incredibly great.

Running from April 2009 to the following winter, GROUNDWORK will function as a community garden and creative research site. The project will take place on the grounds of Rare, a 913-acre nature preservation and agriculture education site located on the Grand River between Galt and Blair. GROUNDWORK will bring together a core creative group of a dozen youth from the Gaweni:io School (Six Nations) and Waterloo Collegiate Institute’s Collision group to develop and cultivate a community garden/site of creative research and knowledge-sharing.

The community-outreach on this project is considerable, and it’s projects like these that involve such deep integration and collaboration with different parts of a community (and it seems Render is taking on more and more of them) that really interests me as an artist and parallels some of the bigger things I think we’d like to do in BCL.

Visiting Detroit

Detroit, Riverside Extension fence

Danielle and I went over to Detroit yesterday to meet with Aaron Timlin (from the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit) at the LadyBug Gallery to discuss some potential collaborative projects over the summer. After getting a quick tour of the gallery and some of the other studios and workspaces in the building (which we unfortunately didn’t get any photos of, though next time), we headed out into the neighbourhood for a guided tour with Aaron to start brainstorming some future projects and project sites.

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