Material Social Practice Reflection Paper

Hello Everyone,

It was a pleasure to spend time with you all in the paper makers garden.
Here are some of my day to day thoughts on the Material Social Practice workshop.

Friday got me really excited about the project. We had read some readings related to public/community art and then we looked at examples of what other people have done in public spaces to show us what some possibilities were. I was inspired and ready to come back Saturday and get started.

It was time to start. Deciding what we were going to do was, in my opinoin the most difficult part of the whole workshop. We could do anything in the space, and it was now time to choose what we were going to do.

Fereshtah lead us through a series of questions to generate ideas for possible projects. This was good. It got ideas out on the table. After that, we looked at what we had and we tried, as a community, to figure out what would be the best course of action. This didn’t go as smoothly as I might have imagined. I think that was because we were trying to figure out how to make sure that we implemented elements of everyones ideas. We needed to just choose something and forget about the other ideas no matter how interesting they all might have been.

After five hours of discussing our possible project, we decided that we wanted to communicate that this space was used and usable. We were interested in simply activating the space to encourage the community to consider “unused” spaces as possible locations for creative expressions.  We also decided to work with materials that were already on site—like rocks and gravel—and materials that we already had—like ribbon, string, and zipties.  The materials we descided to work with was the gravel in the space, spray chalk, zip ties, and ribbon.  We decided to split up into two primary groups (rocks and ribbons) and for our last hour together on Saturday, we decided to go to the Papermaker’s Garden and just begin experimenting with the materials. It was good to finally get out to the space.  In retrospect I think we should have thought more about what the paper makers garden was (it’s more than an empty space) and that might have discouraged us from filling the space with the plastic ribbons.

I think as far as working to finish what we started is concerned Sunday went really well. We had a better idea where we were going with the piece and spent the remainder of the day finishing up our installation. People walking by frequently stopped to ask what we were doing.  Someone even took a picture for us from their highrise apartment to give us a bird’s eye view of what it looked like.  We as a team got together every once in awhile to touch base and decide, as a group, what needed to get done. By 4:00pm on Sunday, we finally finished. The act of collaboration was a rewarding experience for me, and I believe through this experience I learned a few new strategies for working on creative endeavors with larger groups. I think in the future it will be important for me and other similar groups to consider more thoroughly, the significance, history, proposed function of the space to inform what kind of work we make in the space.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Justin,
    Great to hear from you. I agree that it's important to create deeper connections to the history and function of the site! With the enormity of that task in mind, we might have benefited from more smaller break out groups in our discussion sessions. I really appreciated your perspective in the class, thank you!