Some Thoughts on the Blog Posts and my Responses to the Place Game - Kathi

The blog posts and links brought a wide range of thoughts and emotions to my mind. I am kind of a list person, so that may be the best way for me to put down my thoughts:

Psychogeography and Drift:
The "Drift" game invented by post WWII artists in France has some similarities to the current fad of "Geo-Caching." The difference is that Drift players wandered through the city with the aid of specially-designed maps to find existing geographical places and cultural artifacts that were considered by of no value after the War. The current game of Geo-Caching also uses maps and coordinates, but also social media to enable players around the world to interact with each other in urban, suburban, and rural spaces in staggered time. In other words, both parties are not present in the space at the same time, but interact by way of an artifact hidden in a spot that is left by one for others to find later. The "treasure" discovered in Drifting are people and places in the actual city of Paris. In Geo-Caching, the "treasure" is not a place, but a token that leads people to a place.
The Papermaker's Garden might be an interesting site for a Geo-Caching experiment, one that would engage the local community members in a quiet and individual way.

Per the current Papermaker's Garden:
I hate the chain link fence, ugh. Very unfriendly, un-garden like.

Composting and Using Leftovers
There are not really any "leftovers" in the grad spaces in 1104 until AFTER commencement. Everything that is down there now seems to be in use by grads, so that's probably not a good spot to forage for "stuff." I don't' know anything about 619's "work room."

I like the idea of re-using the water bottles. There are a number of water fountains on campus now that include dispensers to fill bottles to encourage less use of the disposable plastic ones, and giving the rest of these already-existing bottles away will encourage usage of those fountains. The Papermaker's Garden currently has no access to water on site, so that is something to discuss: how will that affect the garden and space use going forward?

I find it odd that is there an issue about composting at the Papermaker's Garden. This seems ridiculous. Composting should not be not a sanitation issue, especially if done on a small scale as seen in the Kultivator's Guerrilla Composting/Feed-back Berlin. I think we should push this a bit, if possible. It is a logical extension of making the space an agricultural area -- we are growing things there, and those plants will need compost, right?
It would be interesting to find out how the composting program is actually doing on campus. I know a few areas at Columbia that are maintaining the bins, but not sure how it's going so far (participation, how many bins are on campus, etc.) Maybe part of class should include talking to the Resource Center people.

It might be worthwhile to somehow create a text-base installation in the space that could point out the conflicting directive we're saddled with: "We are being asked to bring art and creativity to the space, but we need to avoid rocking the boat, so that Columbia students will not be prohibited from using this space in the future." In other words, since sustainability in the way of compost is considered a creative use of the space, as well as a nuisance, the institution would like us to think of doing something else.

I was hoping we could find out how to set up an apiary in the space, perhaps with the help if this group who recently lost their site in North Lawndale and have relocated their hives to three other places in the city.

It looks like one may keep hives in the city of Chicago. Bryan Saner knows something about keeping hives, and could be a resource for us. Laws about beekeeping in Illinois are here.

Bees are needed for plants to survive, and Illinois is among the states currently experiencing the CCD bee hive collapse disorder, as well as home to a number of scientists and activists who are trying to do something about this problem. April in Joliet (see link) has instructions for how to build a beehive on her site.

People-Powered Paper Pulp Beater:
Love this idea. Our final project could be to create plans/fundraise to build one (and a garage for it) that could exist on site.
Drew Matott is an InterArts Book and Paper Alumnus. Besised Combat Paper, which was his MFA thesis project, he also does activist work as Peace Paper.

My Responses to

Comfort & Image average rating:  2
Access & Linkages average rating:  1.75
Uses & Activities average rating:   2
Sociability average rating:  1.75

1. What do you like best about this place?
It is very sunny even though surrounded by large buildings.

2. List three things that you would do to improve this place that could be done right away and that wouldn’t cost a lot:
~Get the USPO to add a mailbox in front.
~Add benches and trash receptacles.
~Add some simple wayfinding signage to show nearest "el" entrances to Harrison and Roosevelt. Lots of tourists wander around this area, and they can see the train but don't always know how to get to the entrance.

3. What three changes would you make in the long term that would have the biggest impact?
~Restrict development of more high-rise buildings.
~Increase trees and greenery, make the garden have a dirt base, seating areas, and more access.
`Add an event kiosk, similar to the ones now in use in the CTA, to display CCC and neighborhood information

4. Ask someone who is in the “place” what they like about it and what they would do to improve it. Their answer:
"It's ok, kind of boring. You should clean it up and get rid of the trash thrown in there."
(NB: there are a few bottles, plastic bags, side cans, etc. that have been thrown in over the fence since winter.)

5. What local partnerships or local talent can you identify that could help implement some of your proposed improvements? Please be as specific as possible.
~the CTA
~Students and administration from the combined colleges in the area: East/West, Roosevelt, and Columbia
~The Hilton perhaps, for the benches, and the city for a trash receptacle that could be collected by city sanitation trucks.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kathi,

    Great to hear from you! I have a lot to say about your ideas but I will just touch on a few for now.

    Geocaching is really interesting model of exploring places. Do you know about its predecessor, which was called "letterboxing"? Unfortunately, one of th primary web resources for letterboxing is down, but you can read more about it here: http://www.letterboxing.info/

    Several students have mentioned the eyesore of the fence. I have some ideas for quick interventions we can do with the fence, I’ll share them with you all the first night of the workshop!

    I agree that it would be interesting to have a compost project. From everyone I've talked to, it seems that there are a lot of concerns about the city regulations of this site. Compost is legal at community gardens, so I’m not sure but perhaps the concerns are about quantity and scale. I don’t think we would want to compost ALL of Columbia’s food waste, but doing some smaller scale projects and educate people about creative and practical methods certainly would be manageable.

    I am a volunteer beekeeper at Garfield Park Conservatory! I still feel like I have a lot to learn, but I certainly support the idea of promoting beekeeping in urban spaces. It is legal and highly impactful for demonstrating larger issues around sustainability. But I am guessing that it will be an issue that needs will cause anxiety to some, just as composting does. I am really curious what the landscape architect would have to say and whether she would incorporate spaces for these activities into her design.

    Kathi, I LOVE your observations and thoughts about the site. I have more I could say in response but I will wait to hear from other students and look forward to discussing this further during class time!