instant interventions

our group task yesterday was to take a little time around the building and make/leave a piece of work that responded to the place. i’ll admit my heart wasn’t really in it – i depend a lot on my research process to find inspiration, it’s rarely something that comes out of the blue, and as a relative newbie to this campus still i’m pretty unfamiliar with most of it and don’t have any real sense of connection with it.

we went to the canteen to consider our options and while we were there i did my standard thing when i haven’t a clue what to do – start fiddling. taking the leaflets from the tables i folded a few pleated origami shapes, other members of the group altered the leaflets in other ways. we played with “fortune tellers” and liked the interactive/playful element. we decided to scale up to the largest pieces of paper/card we could scrounge. with very limited time to develop the idea or come up with unusual/interesting fortunes we settled on the drinks menu, for the indecisive amongst us. we placed the altered leaflets and fortune tellers on the tables.

our lack of success was immediately obvious when the group returned less than half an hour later to find all of the leaflets had been binned. one of the fortune tellers had been moved but otherwise we saw no interaction with them by the people who were there. part of the problem was probably choosing an area that is often littered and also often cleaned/tidied. the lack of any real skill or craft in the objects we left rendered them very much in the “litter” category. jessie also pointed out that there was nothing genuinely site-specific about them – they could have applied to any canteen/coffee shop in any place.

the most successful intervention involved a series of clay plaques commemorating pieces of broken equipment and incidents where breakages took place, as a reflection of the run down state of the building as a whole. they demonstrated some level of technical understanding/time spent in the use of materials and execution. they also demonstrated personal connections with the site – some specific memories and experiences, some shared by the other users of the building.


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