Market trading of ideas and thoughts about informal urban practices. We all made cards of sorts and headed to our 1st public trading space. We set up and traded much to the amusement and bemusement of passersby. We also traded gifts in return for others cards. The next trading location was federation square which did not work quite as well due to the weather.
Over all the day proved useful as we were able to find groups with similar interest to work with on our major assignment.
As a group of 4 we thought about activities that would be inviting for the public to participate in. We thought children’s games would be a way to lure in any attraction from the public. Laura and I thought of two ways to achieve this for our intervention. We thought about setting up a situation where it created an opportunity for the public to interact with. Our intervention was ‘Join the dots’ (an old children’s activity) which involved us printing out images constructed of dots on a page that would be left over several nights, in the streets of Melbourne and filled out by anyone that noticed them. We used Disney characters as the images to make the activity more engaging and these were our findings!
The basic concept of Hop Scotch is imbedded in many minds from a young age, although it was still surprising to see how many different groups of people were up to have a go without any prompting what so ever. A lot of people walked right by even after noticing the hop scotch, some dodged the chalk like it was lava, and others with a spring in their step took full advantage of the new addition to the sidewalk and hopped backwards and forwards. It was surprising to see that the hop scotch squares in more secluded areas were a lot more popular and people often stopped to complete a few rounds before carrying on with their daily activity.
Our concept was created a living room environment into our door area with 20 milk crates to build up. The aim of this urban practice was to observe how pedestrians react with indoor interior. Would they feel it as their home? Would they do their private activities in public, lying or sleep in a couch or eating chips while watching big TV screen? We set up in few locations which were Federation Square, Collins Street and State Library. In different areas people did things differently, so located few different areas could let us to know different reactions of people using our awkward furniture. In general, the reactions were not all success, but we did achieve some useful feedback and our aim of the project was success in some areas.
The idea of invading the public space on one of the main thoroughfares of Melbourne city, Bourke St, by threading a long piece of red yarn twisting, winding and zigzagging down the street (in a similar action to the old City of Melbourne ad) became a test of peoples reaction and interaction to the string in what they seem to deem as ‘their space’ .
This said, we also had the intention of testing the ‘universal memory’ by using the familiar item of the striking red yarn to create this familiarity between the passers by, the memory many of them share when coming into contact with this experience, from a joint past experience having seen the melbourne add they are connected by a recollection.
Chris, Lucy, Nick, Sarah and Sophie
Music “I think I like u 2″ by Jamaica
People seem to be quite afraid of other people. So, for our public interaction, we removed the need to interact with other people, and left the public to interact with much less intimidating, stationary, objects. We discovered people quite liked leaving their mark on the world.
Majority of the people who engaged with the activity where in groups. We left the posters exposed for 2 hours. People seemed to feel a bit daunted because the posters were in open spaces where everyone could view each other drawing on them. We also found that the same name or characature appeared on 2 of the posters. By chance these people had walked past all the posters.
Our concept of intervention was quite passive. We wanted to see whether or not people would investigate things that were outside the norm, or controversial in nature; such as abandoning a baby, extinguishing a cigarette in a baby’s face or throwing a baby into a bin. Regardless of how believable or unbelievable the situation, we expected that the bizarre nature of the actions would jostle some people out of that ant-like state that we have all experienced when we have places to be and schedules to keep. Instead we found that most people successfully filter out a lot of what is going on in a public space and those that did notice were often dragged along by the current of pedestrians before they could really get a good grasp of what was happening.
As an inner city suburb of Melbourne, Fitzroy resident’s behaviour was very typical for it’s location. We observed many activities popular in the area such as, cycling for transportation, street shopping, café culture, loitering, busking, exercising and socializing in the park. Rather than point out all the activities people did in Fitzroy, we thought we would try to document spaces that define the suburb and make it individual. It also became clear that some activities which are quite common in the area are partaken during discreet hours as they may not be favoured by the authorities. There seems to be a culture of social awareness concentrating towards sustainable living, and an air of disuse or disrepair to blend in with the dating architecture and décor of many of the buildings.
Picnics – A social activity where a meal is eaten outdoors, especially at a park.
The act is public but has intimate moments.
When I started looking for a ‘informal urban practice’ I came across the Highline Park. I felt this displayed the notions of a picnic in the sense that they have designed an area for the public to roam freely in a public space but to also find intimate private moments on their individual experiences.
The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.
The project gained the City’s support in 2002. The design team of landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, created the High Line’s public landscape with guidance from a diverse community of High Line supporters. Construction on the park began in 2006.
The High Line, is a 1.5-mile long public park built on an abandoned elevated railroad stretching from the Meatpacking District to the Hudson Rail Yards in Manhattan. Inspired by the melancholic, unruly beauty of this postindustrial ruin, where nature has reclaimed a once vital piece of urban infrastructure, the new park interprets its inheritance. It translates the biodiversity that took root after it fell into ruin in a string of site-specific urban microclimates along the stretch of railway that include sunny, shady, wet, dry, windy, and sheltered spaces. Through a strategy of agri-tecture—part agriculture, part architecture—the High Line surface is digitized into discrete units of paving and planting which are assembled along the 1.5 miles into a variety of gradients from 100% paving to 100% soft, richly vegetated biotopes. The paving system consists of individual pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The long paving units have tapered ends that comb into planting beds creating a textured, “pathless” landscape where the public can meander in unscripted ways. The park accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social. Access points are durational experiences designed to prolong the transition from the frenetic pace of city streets to the slow otherworldly landscape.
This video deals with the themes of modification and customisation of urban spaces – explores three different ways that this could occur in Urban Spaces.
The first clip is a work Banksy produced on a wall that divides Israel and the Gaza Strip. This work is typical of the politically provocative style in which the artist works. Banksy, along with many other street artists of his type provoke the viewer into thinking about the wider context of which they live, in particular, how citizens might be ‘controlled’ by particular aspects of the spaces around them.
Knitta Please is a Street Art group that works in the medium of Knitting, which goes by a variety of names, most commonly those of “Guerrilla Knitting” and “Yarn Bombing”. Whilst this may not have the same political potency that perhaps Banksy and other Street artists work might have, it none the less subversively works to make the viewer question the context and in particular, the materiality of the vernacular spaces in which they encounter on a daily basis. “Yarn Bombing” as an informal urban practice is interesting in this sense in that it directly deals with the viewers current physical environment.
Guerrilla Bench by German firm Rugwind, further narrows this trend of customisation down to deal with the ‘user’ (unlike the other two examples, there is a capacity for the ‘viewer’ to become the ‘user’ within the context of this example) and how they might engage with public furniture on a one-to-one basis. A park bench, which is normally out in the open is now concealed and available only to those who know of its existence.