Opt0ut Man is everyone – the belief that we give, but do not receive. Our society has been built on the ideal that we are all in this together. Increasingly we stand witness to changing ideas of what building a society means – a strong individual, means a strong country. The old adage that there are only two certain things in life, taxes and death, begs the question of what life do we want?
Opt0ut Man is an exploration of thoughts, opinions, opportunities, facts and consequences responding to the premise “What would happen if an individual had the option of opting out of the tax system?” expressed as a story. Seen for the first time in CIVIC Space, it is the first stage of longer term project.
Founded in 2010, Department of Unusual Certainties integrates the partial perspectives gleaned from its members committed explorations of a range of disciplines towards the creation of a truly Public Art. Over the last 24 months, DoUC has published work in magazines in North American and European. They have also exhibited projects across Canada, as well as at the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture and at the Prado Media Lab. They were strategic partner to Migrating Landscapes Organizers, curators of the Canadian Pavilion 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture; and were the 2011 Innovators in Residence at the Design Exchange, Canada’s design museum.
I basically shared an area with these guys. Like Sara French and of course the Broken City Lab crew, we were all there over the whole month. (I wasn’t actually there the whole time, but came down for the first couple weekends.)
I had to decide in the editing how much of their footage to include – I had quite a lot, because of their long stay and also because of the sheer scale of their ambitions. I had a cut that only concentrated on the speed dating event, but I thought there was a lot of interest that got excluded so I made it what you see now, perhaps sacrificing cohesiveness for scope and … awesomeliness, hopefully.
Vacancy. It’s one of the big challenges for Windsor, as it is for any shrinking city. The downtown has been hit much harder – Windsor is a classic North American “donut city” where suburban expansion and downtown decline go hand in hand. (More on this in an upcoming film.) There are no easy responses, and I hope that my use of end titles will not seem like I’m trying to argue that the Department’s activities in Windsor led directly to a decrease in the vacancy rate. But their recognition that there was a lack of communication amongst store owners, and their tapping into some of the energy that resulted from opening the lines of communication, seemed to be heading in the right direction, at least.
Nothing’s set in stone, but I have probably three more films to go, maybe 4. There’s some really great stuff coming up, so stay tuned!