Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Creating Legacy: Designing for Past, Present, and Future

We've now had several community meetings with Bleecker Coop members, directors, and staff, and many  ideas have been generated through creative explorations of motif, movement, positive and negative space, colour, texture, and abstract and representational elements. 

What had been initially been conceived as a two-dimensional mosaic mural, has grown into an environmental site-specific installation that will include a large-scale mosaic mural, and modular sculptural weight-bearing works. The progression of not only the concept but also the expansion of form and disciplinary modalities are attributable to the creative and aesthetic capacities of the Bleecker Coop community. 

Legacy often refers to the tangible or material evidence or "product" of a project or combined effort. We've been thinking for several months now about the other stuff -- that which can't be measured; the residual or "soft" stuff in community engaged creative endeavours -- and how to understand and more deeply cultivate this. 

At Bleecker Coop, we have the tremendous opportunity and honour to directly experience the fruits of our labour over time. We worked with community members on two previous large-scale mosaic projects (in 2006 and 2007), and it is this history of creating together that engenders confidence and openness in contributors to bring a wealth of ideas to the table, and explore those ideas through various mediums. On this project, we've heard folks say i/we can and i/we will more often than we've heard i/we can't. The creative capacity of the community here is a great part of its legacy, and for this, we acknowledge and remember Bleecker Coop founding manager Diane Frankling who stewarded and nurtured this cooperative and its communities in ways both large and small; tangible and residual. 

We look forward to continuing in the New Year with ceramics workshops lead by Enrique Campos (where we'll fabricate some of our tiles), and to the design unveiling and vetting meeting on January 12, 2012. 

In the meantime, I've posted a few images that invite you into my process of stewarding the progression of a design that emerges from our arts-based research with community members. 

We've often been asked: How do you steward the progression of a design working with ideas, motif, and art experiments that community members bring to the table?  The short answer is this: if you scroll down (or search blog entries tagged Bleecker Coop Memorial Project) you'll see a direct relationship between the design and its path. You'll see abstract and representational elements of Dorian's trees, Ali's bear, Liliana's woven collage, Kate and Heidi's orbs, Tristan's constellation,  Enrique's lines flowing from a bear, Irene and Minda's vertical columns, Gary's ambers and golds, David's forest, Joe's waters, and Emily's gingham pattern.

Experiment 1, Anna Camilleri, paper mounted on birch bark, 14" x 8"


I've chosen to experiment and think about relief elements in mosaic by weaving and layering paper.