Friday, March 20, 2009

Personal Map Project

*Click on the picture to view more Personal Maps

If biases exist in popular maps, these same biases are reflected in the manner in which we move and experience our world.
-Nato Thompson from the book Experimental Geography: radical approaches to landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism

Hey! It's a psycho-geographical, counter-cartography, map-making project! We thought it would be interesting to see how different people interpret and visualize their spaces, where biases exist, the symbols and language they would use, the areas they would leave out, and how their spatial practices would be expressed within their personal cartography. They illustrated their lives, favorite spots, routes and sites to share their environments with us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Peripheralized Man

The Peripheralized Man:

The journey of The Peripheralized Man begs the question of how things like development, huge wealth gaps, and the structuring of our communities have an impact on how we know our neighbors, what we value, and who gets left out.

To read about Ms. Macefield's house in the PI follow these links:
and this from the NYtimes

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Critical Corpus

This Critical Corpus is a life-size tape cast of a 5' ft. 11' in. male. We stuffed our man, "Corpo" with 70lbs of warm, once, twice, thrice-loved clothes, toys, baby bottles, shoes, blankets. Then we carried our stiff commodity corps and left him to sun bath in the middle of the Westlake Center Plaza.
A little girl plopped right in his lap. Some people took Corpo's picture with their camera phones. Others ripped off his head and gutted him for loot.
Why did we build a life sized corpse, name it Corpo, and pack him full of stuff? Firstly, we're always looking for creative ways to address the needs of our community--and we're tryn to do it as participatory public art made with reclaimed materials, making sure blankets and clothes end up on backs instead of in fresh kills land fills.
We thought about how we should present Corpo to the world: "hmmmm, lets drop a card-board sign with him that says 'The Need is Clear' or 'Asking for Change'". But after some thought we were like "nawww, veto the signs" because its not just about keeping warm clothes on peoples backs, even though that shits real. Conceptually, we didnt want him to only represent stuff. Meaning we didnt want the message to be that it sucks to be poor because you can't buy stuff, or that giving stuff to people who don't have any is some how going to solve poverty. We wanted Corpo to assist in a public understanding of the causes of systemic poverty in our city... in the world! Mainly from a spatial standpoint.
So we figured this: without a sign, Corpo would be a body full of all the shit we need to keep warm, feed and entertain our kids, stuff we like to buy, buy, buy--If we ditched Corpo smack in the middle of DT shopping district, his body would look like a landscape and he'd be more than just an odd lookin' sculpture full of shit. He'd represent the feedback loop between "the body," and the ideology, culture & values of "the body," and of how all that gets built into the physical landscape--which then goes on to reinforce and perpetuate the same ideology, culture, and values into more & more & more bodies.
In other words, Corpo's clear product-filled corpse is not only a reflection of the commercial landscape that we left him in, but also of how capitalism fashions the body and our identities.
Corpo was left for public dismantlement and humiliation (poor corpo...). And maybe, juuust maybe, someone found the sweater, or jacket, or creepy neon-green-alien-stuffed-animal they were looking to buy, except recycled and for free(!) from the belly of our boy, Corpo.

Mobile Free-Store

This invention's salvaged skeleton is a reconditioned, mobile asset satiation economizing machine. Once a captive to the lines and the lanes of the big box pushers, our reclaimed informal sector wagon is an unforgiving, boundary transgressing, free store and tent, community producing contraption.
The free store was pushed around down town Olympia. Members of the Oly community were invited to plunder and provide all the spoils of the free store. We left the free store, with brief instructions for operation, atop a sweet little spot on Capitol Lake.
The instructions read: This is a mobile asset satiation, economizing machine. It does not recognize a lease. It can be pushed and left anywhere and has a detachable rainproof roof/temporary shelter. The metal resevoir is perfect for stockpiling, displaying, and dispensing community donations. Be Advised: This activity is meant to fall outside the purview of government regulation and is considered more illegal than poverty.

Found Material Fort

We built this Found Material Fort out of scraps and discarded materials in the industrial section of Ballard. Old hardware shelving, pallets, plastics, milk crates, scrap metal, a sweet computer monitor circa 1993 + keyboard. The fort was water proofed and insulated with some plastic that we found. We put a pallet in for flooring and stacked some black plastic boards to make a second story. Kick it.