We’ve recently started a new series of events called City As Material. Between October and December 2010 we’re running 5 one-day urban exploration and collaborative publishing events which aim to bring diverse groups together around a number of topics to generate some fresh perspectives on urban space and experience. We will be coordinating the creation of a collaboration Diffusion eBook as the outcome of each event, which will be published on diffusion.org.uk and printedin a limited edition using bookleteer’s PPOD service. Each event will also have a special guest who will be invited to share their personal interests in the topic and who will also be commissioned to create their own eBook for the series:
- Streetscapes (15th October) – guest : Tim Wright
- River (29th October) – guest: Ben Eastop
- Skyline (12th November) – guest : Simon Pope
- Underside (26th November) – guest : Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
- Sonic Geographies (10th December) – guest : tbc
Book places for the events here : cityasmaterial.eventbrite.com
Download publications from the series here : diffusion.org.uk/?cat=976
Follow our reports on the events here : bookleteer.com/blog/tag/pitch-in-publish/
We have just received the first bound copy of our publication for With Our Ears to the Ground; a project by Proboscis commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community. The project focused on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county.
I’m really excited to see the final version and especially happy with the middle tracing paper insert of scenes and people Orlagh and I encountered during the project. The book draws together the multiple layers of ideas and experiences we found across the different communities we met in Watford, Stevenage, North Herts and Broxbourne and it is designed to reflect the many ideas and voices we encountered. It is organised in the six themes of Transport, Movement, Listening, Community, Getting Involved and Perceptions the emerged during the project. The book contains drawings, photographs, quotes and writings. It can be read in any direction and you can interweave the pages of the three sections as you read, to find new perspectives.
The With Our Ears to the Ground book, will go to selected libraries in Hertfordshire. The publication draws together the multiple layers of ideas and experiences we found across different communities and it is designed to reflect those ideas and voices.
We have a small number of copies please contact us if you would like to acquire one.
We have also published the main chapters as Diffusion eBooks - books to download print and make up published using Bookleteer. Booklets to make, carry in your pocket, browse in your own time, rather than read on screen. You can download them here.
NOW & UPCOMING
Our new web app for creating Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes was deployed at the end of September and is now in an ‘alpha’ testing phase. A number of people have been invited to help us test the fledgling service and put it through its paces in preparation for a wider public ‘beta’ test next year. Follow our progress on twitter and on the bookleteer blog, or alternatively take part in one of our ‘Pitch Up & Publish’ sessions where you’ll get a free bookleteer test account and help to learn how to make eBooks and StoryCubes.
http://bookleteer.com | http://bookleteer.com/blog | http://twitter.com/bookleteer
bookleter alpha club
Proboscis has launched a supporters’ club offering advance access during the ‘alpha’ phase (up to 5 user accounts, access to APIs, pitch up & publish workshops & a Proboscis artists’ bookwork). Funds raised will go towards development of the bookleteer public beta which we hope to launch in Spring 2010. Alpha Club members will be honoured on the site as founder sponsors, and membership will be exclusive to those who join during the alpha phase. We’re excited that our first two members are DodoLab and Architecture Centre Network.
http://bookleteer.com/blog/2009/10/alpha-club/ | http://bookleteer.com/blog/alpha-club/
arte.mov and Mobilefest, Brazil
Proboscis will be showing a new installation piece as part of the Mobilefest Festival, in Sao Paulo at MIC November 11-17.
Giles Lane will be presenting at the arte.mov festival symposium in Belo Horizonte on November 13th as well as devising a creative project about the city during his stay.
Giles will also be participating in arte.mov’s symposium in Salvador de Bahia on the 17-19th November.
With Our Ears To The Ground
Proboscis has been commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community. The project focuses on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county: in Watford, Stevenage, rural North Hertfordshire and the commuter areas of Broxbourne. It focuses on finding out the reasons why people get on with each other and feel part of the community and is about developing a better understanding of our communities in order to help Hertfordshire County Council and its partners to plan their work supporting communities over the next few years.
http://withourearstotheground.wordpress.com | http://twitter.com/ears2theground
City As Material Course
Giles Lane is leading a course for students from Vassar College, New York State, USA who are on an international study program in London. It is a co-creative course for students to explore the city, investigate how other artists and creative people have used it as an artistic medium, and devise their own personal creative interventions.
lift @ home’s Hands on Barcelona’s Informational Membrane
Giles was an invited speaker at the Citilab workshop in Barcelona, Spain, October 24:
At the Water’s Edge: Grand River Sketches
Alice Angus’ large format work of drawings and video was installed in Render’s main exhibition space in Waterloo, Canada September 23rd to October 30th. It was accompanied by screenings of Alice’s film Topographies & Tales, made with Joyce Majiski.
Arteleku’s My Map Is Not Your Map
Giles was an invited speaker at the workshop in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, September 23-25:
DodoLab PEI, Charlottetown, Canada
Proboscis took part in another DodoLab in August, this time in the province of Prince Edward Island, in Canada’a Atlantic Maritimes. There we helped create and distribute seedbombs at the local Farmer’s Market, design eBooks for questionnaires, research into the Experimental Farm Station and worked on some large-scale drawings.
New Diffusion Titles
The Postcard Places Project by Lisa Hirmer with Laura Knap http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1602>
In the Shadow of Senate House by Hatherley, McNeile, Downing & Leslie http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1575
The Rustification of Henry Thomas Brown by Andrew Thomas Hunter http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1562
DodoLab Wants to Know: What Are The Signs of a Creative City? http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1352
DodoLab Wants to Know: About Green Space by Lisa Hirmer http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1347
An A-Z of The Ting: Theatre of Mistakes by Marie-Anne Mancio http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1327
Ethnographic Notebooks, British Museum Melanesia Project http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1301
Dodolab Wants To Know http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1295
The Lunar House ‘Re-enactment’ by Tony White http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1292
Estado de presencia por Cristina Luna http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1281
The Octuplet: Story of Our Lives by Babette Wagenvoort http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1245
Le Corbeau / The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe tr. Stéphane Mallarmé http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1238
More Diffusion Shareable Notebooks http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1227
Blakewalking by Tim Wright http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1223
Sutton Grapevine: Youth Group Storyboard by Alice Angus & Orlagh Woods http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1217
We have been working on Ears to the Ground for around 3 months now and the phase of being out there talking to people and doing activities is almost over with our energy now being focused into how to condense over 200 voices and quotes into a small publication. We’ve been roving around Hertfordshire meeting young and old, talking to them in groups, in their homes, at events. As well as the many people and groups we have met we have; set up a stall in Watford Market to talk to market goers, set up outside Broxbourne Station to speak to commuters, set up a map outside Stevenage Job Centre and annotated it with post it notes of comments from Centre users and ran a drawing workshop with a youth group. We’ve taken our anarchaeology approach of using informal and creative approaches to excavate layers of meaning and understanding. I’ve enjoyed all the people we met who have been so generous, and as I go through the hours of recorded audio two of my favourite quotes so far have been from the Meriden Comunity Centre Community Bar on the Meriden estate in north Watford, and the list of what young people saw around their Neighbourhood in the Chells area of Stevenage.
In the Meriden community bar we asked: How long have you been here?
1962 I moved onto this estate.
I was going to say half past seven.
I’ve been a member of this club for years since it first opened.
I’ve been here so long I’ve worn a hole in the carpet.
You certainly don’t get any trouble in here fighting or all that, its just all mates really I suppose
Like a big extended family
We come down here to insult each other
Don’t know what we’d do without it, we’d sit indoors and watch telly.
We’re all living round here so we don’t need to drive.
The atmosphere, you know, you come in and you know you’re not going to get into any trouble.
And in Chells Manor Community Center we went for a walk with the youth group and after making a large drawing we asked: What did you see and draw?
I saw a fox
I saw the pub, shops, chip shop
I saw, a cat , a man smoking
I saw a tree and a road and an aeroplane
I saw a red flower, a broken glass
I saw myself
I saw a load of people at the youth club
I saw my house
apparently we saw a train going up a tree
I never saw two men shooting each other
I saw darren
I saw houses, dogs,
I saw the green, football, cricket, cycling down fairlands
The book will be published in December.
This week we begin teaching a course on the city as material for artistic practice with students from Vassar College‘s International Program in London. We’ve planned it as a co-creative course, intending to act as facilitators and guides to the students in devising and conducting their own investigations of the city and creating their own interventions. The students will be creating a blog to document their activities, as well as publishing eBooks about their individual projects.
The course is fortnightly (from early September to the beginning of December 2009), based in our studio in Clerkenwell, from where we’ll engage in walks, watching, making, drawing, discussing and eating.
The focus for this class will be in considering the role of the city as material for artistic experimentation and creation. Only inadequately understood as “public art,” urban interventions produce public space where it does not exist, foster new modes of urban citizenship and participation, render legible the force of political and financial power shaping the global city, expose the mutability of “public” and “private” entailed by new media transformations of social space, create alliances between varied urban stakeholders, challenge the zero-tolerance policies of the increasingly securitized city, and broaden the repertoire of political resistance and direct action. In addition to contemporary practice the course will consider the rich histories of urban intervention by artists in London and elsewhere.
We are preparing to head off this week to Sutton-in-the-Isle to exhibit our work on Sutton Grapevine at the annual Sutton Feast. There will be a display in St Andrews Church from Wednesday to Sunday and over Friday and Saturday we will be joining various Feast Events to show people the Grapevine and hopefully inspire them to add their own stories. Having spent a week in Sutton in June we have gathered a huge range of stories and audio which are now being edited and podcast on the Grapevine. We’ve gathered stories through interviews and chance encounters, meetings, attending clubs and groups, visiting events, working with the youth group, organising a BBQ, exploring the local area by bike, foot and car, through an exhibit in the Babylon Gallery Ely and through the website.
This week we will be at
Wed 1st – Fri 3rd July, 7pm – 11pm St Andrews Church (during Beer Festival)
Fri 3rd July, 2pm – 5pm St Andrews Church (free)
Sat 4th July, 10am – 12pm Tithe Sale, St Andrews Church (free)
Sat 4th July, 12pm – 3pm FOSS Annual Summer Fete, Sutton Primary School (free)
Sun 5th July, from 7.15pm St Andrews Church (during Last Night of the Proms)
Come and join us for a day in the Fens.
We’ve recently submitted a proposal for Arts Council England’s Artists Taking the Lead project for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. It builds on an emerging collaboration we have with mongrelStreet (mervin Jarman and Richard Pierre-Davis) as well as ideas around migration and narrative we have been working on for a few years.
Trace Elements: Why are we who we are?
Trace Elements is an interactive and distributed artwork revealing the diversity of the journeys and migrations ordinary people make to live, work and play in London. Through words, images and symbols that convey these stories it will flow like a digital river through London’s public media spaces: generating a storyscape of endlessly changing combinations. It will allow both participants and audiences to form associations and connections between our lived experiences, hopes and aspirations as Londonders: a visual and poetic stream which we can fall in and out of.
Trace Elements combines the creative inspiration and experience of two artist-led groups, Proboscis (Alice Angus, Giles Lane and Orlagh Woods) and mongrelStreet (mervin Jarman and Richard Pierre-Davis). It will be a multi-faceted project that grows leading up to June 2012 and beyond. It will involve creative research with communities across London to elicit their stories of how and why they have come to live here: what they have given up; what they have held onto; what they dream of; what their fears are. This will be used to inspire a narrative ‘periodic table’ of story elements: images and symbols that capture the essence of people’s stories and experiences. The story elements will become a simple interface for engaging people to share their stories in a visual and symbolic way and will also be used to generate automatic poetry for dissemination via social media tools such as twitter and text messaging.
Using mongrelStreet’s iStreet Lab as mobile ‘stations’ for engaging with communities in their own areas, we will ‘recycle streetcorners’ into storytelling and sharing spaces, weaving a tapestry of social and cultural interactions across the city. iStreet Labs will also be sited in places such as airports, rail stations, parks and other public and private spaces to engage visitors, commuters and locals in sharing their stories. Audiences will be able to dive into the Trace Elements storyscape via media screens in tube stations, bus stops, rail stations, as well as via online and mobile media.
With uncertainty and climate change at the forefront of local and universal concerns we want to work with the people of London to create something that crosses barrriers by bringing to light our collective struggles and our shared hopes. Trace Elements will emerge as a magnificent reflection of the creativity, hope and determination of human spirit that has brought so many people here.
Proboscis has recently been invited to join a tender bid to Urban Living and Birmingham City Council for the Sandwell Sense of Place project. The other partners are Rob Annable and Mike Menzies of axis design architects (who are leading the bid); Michael Kohn and Chris of YouCanPlan and Nick Booth of Podnosh. The sense of place project aims to devise a toolkit and archive using a variety of media and techniques for local residents to articulate their sense of place in two areas of Sandwell near Birmingham in the ‘Western Growth Corridor‘. This sense of place and its archive will form a key input into the regeneration masterplanning process.
As part of our interview we created a special Diffusion eBook outlining the team’s approach and illustrating some of our previous work.
As part of our commission (Being in Common) for the Art of Common Space at Gunpowder Park, 21 Exploration Packs were sent to participants around the world to explore what ‘common space’ means to different people in both urban and rural areas and of different ages. Participants were carefully selected to get a wide variety of responses from various walks in life including a market stall owner, computer programmer, wilderness guide, NASA space worker, parkour artist, mother, social scientist, tourguide and sea-kayaker, and from diverse places such as London, Sweden, Vietnam, Spain, Australia, Canada, India and Greece.
Each pack contains objects and questions exploring what the phrase ‘common space’ means. Participants have been asked to respond in whatever way they wish – write, draw, use stickers, take photographs, use sound recorders or video. The packs include a guide, eNotebook, Matchbox, StoryCube, Photos, Feltboard, Collage Pack, CD, a World Map and International Reply Coupons. Each was designed to offer an understanding of what ‘common space’ means within the participant’s particular context.
Some of the questions include:
- Describing a common space :
- what does it look, feel, taste like?
- What do you like about it?
- What makes it a common space?
- Who else shares the space?
- How do you navigate around it?
- What are the edges / limitations / restrictions you encounter?
- What are the features of a common space? Who belongs to / owns the space?
The responses will feed into Proboscis’ artwork to be made for Gunpowder Park early in 2009.
Rita King has blogged about receiving her pack here.
As part of our research for the project, we conducted an anarchaeology of the city and its people and created a series of Impressions to inspire different perspectives on the key themes for workshop participants and project stakeholders.
The Impressions, initially created as a means of conveying a local sense of place to national and international participants, were inspired by the series of ‘Wanderings’ that Proboscis undertook with local people in Peterborough as a means of conveying a local sense of place.
We were inspired by the people of Peterborough and the seeds of the future they showed us that Peterborough already has; the diversity, talent, river, and green spaces, fens and waterways, the history and folklore and the great generous friendliness of people who never turned us away. Our Impressions therefore were about the seeds of Peterborough; visible and invisible, from past and future, for hopes
and concerns. They are about what could be seeded, nurtured and grown and what seeds exist here already to help everyone do that.
The wanderings involved conversations and encounters with over 20 local people of different ages and backgrounds. Proboscis journeyed through townships, villages and city by taxi, train, bus, bike, kayak and on foot to investigate and explore the city and its surrounding landscapes. We gained a richer understanding, through local and grassroots perspectives, of people’s perspectives of what it is like to live in Peterborough and their aspirations for the future. The resulting series of Impressions include short films, audio collage, eBooks, StoryCubes and drawings that can be shared physically and digitally and combined with existing policy material to add new perspective to the visioning process.
- Lines of Mobility Diffusion eBook
- Blocks of Change Diffusion eBook
- Bus Adventures Diffusion eBook
- Underused Assets StoryCubes
- Monsters and Mermaids (8 panel french fold booklet PDF)
- Flows Film
- Perspectives Film
- Voices audio piece
- Briefing Pack Book (PDF)
- Briefing Pack StoryCubes (illustrated by Matt Huynh).
Perspectives of Peterborough (UK) from bike, kayak and bus. One of a series of 8 “Impressions” of the city of Peterborough in England. Part of the Perception Peterborough project which involves artists and consultants in working with local, national and international people to develop a compelling and exciting vision for the future of the city.
Voices records hopes, aspirations and feelings about the city of local people we encountered during our anarchaeological research for Perception Peterborough. One of a series of 8 “Impressions” of the city of Peterborough in England. Part of the Perception Peterborough project which involves artists and consultants in working with local, national and international people to develop a compelling and exciting vision for the future of the city.
A playful exploration of Proboscis and some of its projects, tools and techniques.
Created by Alice Angus, Giles Lane, Orlagh Woods and Karen Martin (April 2008).
Music by Peoplelikeus.
Collecting, Curating and Communicating Culture
Proboscis co-designed (with Andrew Hunter of Render) a studio/seminar course introducing 3rd & 4th year undergraduate and post-graduate students to contemporary approaches to collecting and curating through learning by doing. Students were introduced to techniques (anarchaeology, public authoring) and tools (Diffusion eBooks, StoryCubes, podcasting) used and developed by Proboscis. The goal of the course was to work both individually and collectively in excavating narratives of people, places, events and artefacts and creating new artefacts (using new and old media tools).
Render continued its collaboration with Proboscis on the Anarchaeology programme in May-July 2008, running a lab out of the Artery Gallery in downtown Kitchener. As part of this Render hosted a workshop with Collision, a group of students from Preston Highschool who have formed an independent collective to initiate and create performative art projects. Collision is mentored by artist and teacher Kyle Brown. For the May 17 workshop, Collision became selected buildings in downtown Kitchener and then ventured out into the street to engage the public.
Team: Alice Angus, Giles Lane & Orlagh Woods
Partner: Render at University of Waterloo (Andrew Hunter, Barbara Hobot & Amos Latteier)
Funded by the J.W. Graham Trust