Maps + Final Cut

I’ll be spending most of the week finishing up a couple lingering parts of Save the City: assembling the maps for Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope and putting the final touches on the edit from Listen to the City that Danielle assembled.

The audio documentary is going to be an overview, or maybe like a trailer — it’s about 5 or 6 minutes long and will only sample bits and pieces of conversations from the hours of recorded audio from Listen to the City. However, we’ll be posting the unedited clips for download alongside the trailer as well as submitting the trailer and unedited clips on CD to the Windsor Archives.

As well, some very preliminary test maps for Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope. These will actually be 22″ x 17″, but also made available for download. Above are just some sketches, but I showed some of these to Danielle and Cristina — they liked the red map, but I think we’ll go with something like numbered dots to demarcate the sites. Or, potentially, there will be two maps.

Work like this is fun, but a bit of a long road. I suppose I’m being overly cautious to make sure that these are moving in the right direction before committing and doing a complete version, but ultimately, patience now will make it worthwhile not having to redo it later.

…and then the city…

Though we’re still very much in the middle of thinking about, beginning to write about, and generally talk about all of the amazing things that we learned as part of Save the City, these billboards are the last part of the project to be launched.

These two statements are among the many, many, many that we came up with after thinking through the experiences that we had and the people that we got to meet with Save the City, and maybe in particular, our final event, How to Save a City.

I think we wanted to suggest the end of one part of a conversation and the beginning of another. In terms of our own research, I think we’re ready to start looking at problems in different ways, as a kind of continuum of ideas, rather than points from which to react.

So, you can see these billboards in Windsor. The first, “…and then the city knew it wasn’t alone.” is at University and Church, visible when traveling west.

And the second, “…and then the city started to feel better.” is at Wyandotte and Parent, visible when traveling west.

More ahead, and in the meantime, SRSI.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Later Nights, since it’s summer now

Michelle and I spent hours and hours together yesterday. With everyone’s schedules fairly ridiculous at the moment, we’re trying to steal what little time we can to keep working. Lately, the time that we’ve all spent together has been framed exclusively almost exclusively by planning for Save the City or organizing the Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation, and so we’re usually burned out after a couple hours of that. Last night though, we pushed past the moment of getting burned out, and I think we got somewhere because of it.

We started our Friday night with a Skype call to Chris from the Department of Unusual Certainties regarding their project as part of the Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation (they are very enthusiastic, and their projects is going to be really, really great), had some dinner, tried to imagine what will come after SRSI, and then moved on to sorting out the billboards for the last part of Save the City.

We had a lot of bad ideas. Had we stopped earlier on, today and tomorrow would have been filled with some scrambling efforts to find the finish the design, emailing it out to everyone, trying to integrate everyone’s suggestions (and likely failing to do it well), sending it out again, getting more input, etc., etc., etc. Not entirely effective, nor can that process really capture the really great sparking moments of working together in the same room (the reason, I love collaborative work).

We really want these billboards to not just cap off Save the City, not just describe or some how summarize what we’ve learned, but continue with this conversation that we’ve been having. So, we had some terrible ideas for a long while, but we moved through them, we wrote them all down, then crossed them all out eventually, and it was the process of doing that, of really talking about where we were trying to go without knowing where we were going that was entirely worth it. I think we started the billboard brainstorming around 7:30pm were ready to give up around 9pm and we were there until 11pm still finalizing things. And, they’re still not finalized yet, but they’re close.

And we didn’t just brainstorm, we did the preliminary layout(s) together, we critiqued as we went, and it was so completely worth the exhaustion. Danielle called, thankfully, so we could check our work with someone outside of that room to make sure we hadn’t missed anything obvious, and then we were done, and we’re very, very excited to see these go up.

I hope the summer allows more opportunities for this — a lot of time spent together doing things, working through problems together, in the same room, until we get somewhere better than where we started.

The artwork goes out Monday, and I think the billboards launch mid-month.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

A Toolkit for Saving a City

Though we have a lot more to say about Save the City than I’ll attempt right now, you should know that we put together a toolkit that describes the processes we figured out throughout the last five months. We put together a nice one-page fold up list of instructions, so to speak, for how one might take on similar tactics in (re)discovering their city, neighbourhood, block, or apartment building.

Cristina wrote about the process a while back, and the toolkits turned out really, really, really well. Soon, we’ll be posting a downloadable PDF.

The event last Friday was awesome. We had a really good turn out, we got to talk about and see (really for the first time) everything we’ve been doing so far this year all lined up together. Have we come to any conclusions? I’m not sure, but I know that we’ve begun to articulate some of the questions we’ve had for a long time, a little bit better.

We’re hoping to put together a book by the end of the summer about all of this (and by all of this, I mean Save the City). We need to devote some time to really digging into discussing what the project has been and how it unfolded. In the meantime, we still have some billboard space to fill, expect to see some photos of those in the coming weeks. As well, we still need to put together a map for Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope. So, lots to do, and all while we prepare for the Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation!!!

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Getting things done!

The Eco-House was bumpin’ Friday night!  Amongst a slew of other undergoing projects, Michelle, Rosina, Josh and I we’re all hard at work, trying to get everything organized for our upcoming event and final installment of Save The City that’s taking place this Friday at the Art Gallery of Windsor!

Rosina and I tackled the Save The City Micro Tool-Kits that will also be distributed THIS Friday night.  We did everything from editing the recipes, to creating a layout, to drawing little doodles, and we’re very excited to share them with you!  While Rosina and I were busy working away on one end of the table, Josh and Michelle were just as busy on the other end organizing and creating a calendar and list of needs for all the SRSI participants.

Continue reading “Getting things done!”

Things Worth Saving Recap

Though we’ve received a few of the postcards back because of a faulty address, for the most part, the 150 postcards sent out for Things Worth Saving, as part of our ongoing Save the City project, have likely now arrived to their destinations.

I must admit that when I first laid eyes on the stacks upon stacks of  postcards that we were fill and mail out that evening I yearned for my San Pellegrino to immaculately transform into Kentucky bourbon. Alas it did not, but thankfully that seemingly desperate moment revealed itself as fleeting as the lovely people who attended the event feverishly jot down their various anecdotes, love stories, musings and mini manifestos regarding Windsor. The writing was non stop – the sounds of the building and camera snaps were overpowered by the sounds of pencils, pens and markers scribbling effervescently.

Continue reading “Things Worth Saving Recap”

How to Save a City

The details: Friday, May 21 at 7pm, Art Gallery of Windsor.

For the past five months, we’ve been working on a series of events aimed at unfolding the stories, experiences, images, geography, buildings, folkloric histories, people, and places that make Windsor the city that it is. Perhaps you’ve come out to one of our community events in the Broken City Lab: Save the City series, or perhaps you’ve just read about it here, or maybe you’ve meant to come, but you haven’t been able to fit it into your schedule — in an case, this is going to be our final event as part of the project, and you should come.

The things that we’ve learned from working with the community on creating audio documentaries, city-wide maps, sidewalk-parades, and postcards with hand-written letters have changed the way we think about this city, its past, and its future.

So, we would like to cordially invite you to the final part of Save the City on May 21st at the Art Gallery of Windsor. We’ll be in or around the building depending on the weather, but either way, we promise we won’t be hard to find. We would like you to come out to share with us one more time some of the things that shape the way you think about Windsor — we’ll talk about what we’ve learned, we’ll ask you a bunch of questions, we’ll show you hundreds of photographs, and then we’ll ask you to help us come up with a message that we’ll then put up on a billboard (or two) somewhere in Windsor. We’re hoping that this message can say something to the city that needs to be said.

Hope you can make it.

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Playing Catch Up on Save the City

So, we’ve been busy working on the final parts of some of the Save the City projects, in particular, pulling together the postcards for this month’s Things Worth Saving (April 27th, remember?!)

We wound up with around 65 photographs submitted by some fellow Windsorites of the things that they think are worth saving in the city. We’re planning to write a lot of short letters on the back of these postcards and then sending them out to cities across the country (p.s. you’re invited to help!!!)

Danielle and I have also been out finishing up documenting and officially recognizing the Sites of Apology / Sites of Hope across the city.

You should expect a massive post on this soon… visiting 50 sites across the city takes a lot longer than we anticipated! We’re also trying to figure out where to host our final event of the Save the City project in May — any suggestions?

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Things Worth Saving

The details: Sunday, April 11th via email & Tuesday, April 27th at 7pm, at Artspeak Gallery.

As part of the Broken City Lab: Save the City project, Broken City Lab is inviting Windsorites to venture out into the city and take five photographs that showcase what makes our city “worth saving.” These photographs will be turned into a series of postcards that will be mailed out to other cities across the country to prompt a discussion around the differences between how Windsor is viewed by its residents versus how Windsor is viewed by people from outside the city.

Please submit your photographic responses to the following criteria in landscape orientation (your images should be wider than they are taller):

1) Someone you’d hate to see leave
2) Something inspiring
3) Somewhere that made you feel something important
4) Somewhere you know you’ll always find a familiar face
5) Something with potential

Once you’ve captured your images of “things worth saving,” please submit all five to by 11:59pm on Sunday, April 11th, 2010. Your submissions will be turned into a series of postcards, so please only submit photographs that you are willing to send out into the world.

Then on April 27th at 7pm, Broken City Lab will host a massive mailout / postcard writing party, at Artspeak Gallery, located at 1942 Wyandotte Street East, where you’re invited to help address all of those postcards and write personalized messages to the rest of the country!

Broken City Lab: Save the City is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.