Daily Archives: October 8, 2013

Reimagining the Urban: Megan Hoetger

The long-term is a durational temporality. If I set this against the continuous present of the participle, ‘re-imagining’–the keyword which leads the title of the symposium–what kind of time do I find myself in? The call for the long-term engagement is a particularly fraught one for the field of visual art practice forcing the surface a series of questions, like: how long is enough for an artist to engage a community? How long should the dialogue be? How long does the project go?

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Reimagining the Urban: Kimberly Richards

The complexity of the discourses about the city, arts, and public spaces has prompted me to reflect upon the merits, necessities, and challenges of interdisciplinary work. In order to assess the strategies that are being employed in the Bay Area to navigate this difficult terrain, I traced the conference’s discussion around collaboration and recorded when the prefixes “inter,” “cross” and “trans” were used so as to reveal something about the nature of the “connections across the arts and public space.”

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Reimagining the Urban: Leslie Dreyer

Dr. Shannon Jackson, who co-organized Reimagining the Urban, opened the symposium with questions including, in summary: What kinds of creativity are valued and for whom? And how can collaborating across sectors create solutions rather than obstacles? Another question to ask here would be: solutions for whom? Margaret Crawford, who blogged about Richard Florida’s theory and Creative Class policies “pushing up rents and displacing local businesses and residents,” restated Jackson’s questions by mentioning San Francisco’s “success” alongside the displacement of long-time local and influential artists. I was curious how the panelists would address questions of equity and access in their strategies of “reimagining.”

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Reimagining the Urban: Hallie Wells

What is spontaneity if not serendipity—a surprisingly pleasant encounter, saying yes to adventure, walking up the steeper street on a whim and being rewarded with the better view? Spontaneity, perhaps because of its association with creativity and positive action, popped up throughout the conference as a human potential that urban art projects and development plans should tap into. Spontaneous interactions can be facilitated by architectural and design features, as Deborah Cullinan and Andy Wang noted of the 5M Project, or by technological innovations such as those discussed by Joel Slayton of Zero1.

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Reimagining the Urban: Christina Gossmann

The last session of the day, What is the “Bay” in the Bay Area? Creating Nature, acknowledged the elephant in the room—the Bay—but it also revealed the ambiguity of ownership surrounding this, “our” Bay. From Brad McCrea’s mention of changing legal rights (“Most things you can do on land, you can’t do in the Bay.”) to Louise Pubols’ historical account of the Emeryville shoreline as a “junky throw-away space” where artists/students/people were not afraid of “messing up,” we caught a glimpse of an immensely complex puzzle: public nature.

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Reimagining the Urban: Katie Bruhn

Throughout the daylong symposium, “Reimaging the Urban,” two particular keywords continued to jump out at me – reciprocity and layers. As I thought about these as individual concepts I realized that in fact layers of reciprocity was a much more appropriate way in which to understand the complexity of collaboration and exchange necessary in order for the projects discussed to succeed.

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Reimagining the Urban: Alex Werth

One of the themes that we’re exploring in our seminar—entitled “The City, Arts, and Public Spaces,” and planned in conjunction with Reimagining the Urban—is that of publics and publicness. (See Shannon Jackson’s post for an overview of these many-sided concepts.) As a budding geographer, and a scholar of urban public space, I began the semester with the view that public space is public in the sense that it is, in theory, open to universal use, and that, to that effect, it is also a space in the sense that it is inhabitable.

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Reimagining the Urban: Martha Herrera-Lasso

Raquel Gutiérrez invites us to map the room around us: who is here and how long did it take us all to get to 2150 Allston Way. For a moment, we acknowledged the morning’s journey that brought us to this place, and maybe even the bridges we had to cross to get here.

Throughout the day bridges came up again and again in the form of projects, conversation, opportunities, performances and partnerships. Deborah Cullinan invited us to think of alleys as bridges, as spaces of circulation; she spoke of creating art bridges and using them to prepare new generations for what is growing around them.

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Reimagining the Urban: Marina McDougall

Several years ago at a public forum at the Oakland Museum of California, Open Restaurantcollaborator Jerome Waag asked, “How does a museum become an incubator generating new forms of civic engagement?”

Though no one that evening took it up, the question continues to resonate. The Oakland Museum soon after its founding in 1969 was hailed as “the people’s museum.” (I worked on a project called the Marvelous Museum with artist Mark Dion that delved into the OMCA’s early formation). Similarly, the Exploratorium also opened in 1969 with a wooden sign hung in its enormous space capturing its vision, “Here is being created the Exploratorium, a community museum dedicated to awareness.”

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