Dear Indian Road is near the very top of my list of favourites from Daragh Sankey‘s nearly complete documentary series on our Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation project. It’s kind of unreal to think about the things that have changed (and haven’t) around Indian Road, the border crossing, and the fallout from this ongoing political and infrastructural battle.

Here’s Daragh’s background on the video:

I was quite impressed by Leesa’s project. The visual impact, the collective participation, the subtlety of its activism – it all came together beautifully.

When it came to the issue of representing Indian Road on film, I couldn’t get it out of my head that the ideal technique was a single tracking shot. The road is patrolled by private security hired by the bridge company, so I wasn’t about to go lay down track or get a steadicam rig and walk the length of it. The answer was a surreptitious car mount. I found a cheap suction mount and stuck it on there. This was about a year after the residencies. My lady friend and I rented a car and drove up to Windsor to get this and a few other shots (there was some car mount footage in this one too), but unfortunately the car rental place I used didn’t let you specify what model you wanted, so we wound up trying to sneak up Indian Road in a bright orange jeep with a camera mounted on it. Like the ninja! But somehow we stayed out of trouble, and I’m very happy with how the footage looks.

This is the semi-final film. Next will be a brief coda wrapping up the series. I still have tons of great stuff dealing more specifically with Broken City Lab themselves, but I’m not promising that any time soon.

There’s more here on the rest of the In Store series.

SRSI, Day 14: Field Research, Sweater Vests and Postcards

Leesa Bringas’ Postcards to Indian Road project is coming along nicely; some postcards with messages have been returned to her in the mail. Jodi is wrapping up her Sweater Factory with a few completed sweater vests and more to come. BCL Research Fellows Josh and Rosina have been helping the Department of Unusual Certainties with field research, and The Garden Project planters are filling up.

Continue reading “SRSI, Day 14: Field Research, Sweater Vests and Postcards”

Highlighting / Decorating Derelict Buildings

Buildings In Liverpool

Though I’m not sure that “decorating” is the correct term (my vocabulary is failing me right now), I know that this idea has come up a number of times in various discussions on what to do with the houses on Indian Road, and other abandoned properties throughout the city. Doing something like painting the boards over the windows on abandoned buildings highlights them in a way that helps to keep them from fading into the periphery, while also arguably helping to raise the aesthetic of the surrounding area.

A similar project involving literally highlighting urban blight that’s probably more well-known was the Detroit Demolition Disneyland series of interventions where buildings marked for demolition by the city of Detroit were painted bright orange by an anonymous group. I think it worked for what is was, though the issue is entirely different than what’s going on here in Windsor. 

So, do we need to consider tackling the vacant property throughout the city? I would be curious to figure out just how many vacancies we face, but beyond that, does a project like the one above, which is in Liverpool, do anything else other than decorate the neighbourhood, and is that enough?

[via Wooster Collective]