Its been a funny kind of a year…
TL:DR – We did some stuff. More than usual.
Two of our Whithervanes have been acquired by Folkestone Artworks – Folkestone’s permanent public art collection of 27 works originally commissioned by the Creative Foundation for the Folkestone Triennial that are now on permanent display in public spaces in the town. The chosen sites are The Cube (adult education center) and Rocksalt (restaurant). This collection of permanent works includes work by: Adam Chodzko; A K Dolven; Christian Boltanski; Cornelia Parker; Cristina Iglesias; Diane Dever & Jonathan Wright; Hamish Fulton; Ian Hamilton Finlay; Mark Dion; Mark Wallinger; Michael Sailstorfer; muf Architecture/Art; Nathan Coley; Pablo Bronstein; Pae White; Paloma Varga Weisz; Patrick Tuttofuoco; Richard Wilson; Richard Wentworth; rootoftwo; Ruth Ewan; Sarah Staton; Spencer Finch; Strange Cargo; Tonico Lemos Auad; Tracey Emin; Will Kwan; and Yoko Ono.
The Whithervanes were rebuilt for the long haul in fiberglass and stainless steel. They went back on site in June. Hannah Conroy of Folkestone Artworks took some pictures:
We received a matching award from the 2014 Detroit Knight Arts Challenge to explore how fear is used in contemporary media. The goal is to expand the “Whithervanes” project to create an open-source toolkit and provide workshops to help others create their own sculptures to visualize and humanize additional data and information flows.
HASTAC is an alliance of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists and technologists working together to transform the future of learning for the 21st century. Since 2002, HASTAC (“haystack”) has served as a community of connection where 11,500+ members share news, tools, research, insights, and projects to promote engaged learning for a global society. HASTAC 2015 was held May 27-30, 2015 at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University. We were keynotes.
We had our RBTS on hand:
TBD Catalog Vol 9 Issue 24. (Book) Near Future Laboratory. ISBN 978-0-9905633-0-3 finally arrived! Megan Mulholland has a write up of the originating workshop in Detroit here.
“This video tells the story of the making of TBD Catalog. The Catalog started out as a modest effort by a workshop in Detroit, USA to discuss what was jokingly referred to as the “State of Things” and to assess the future of products, their design and associated services as society evolved with its exuberance for cultures, businesses and daily rituals in which technologies and sciences played a central, defining role.
To address this, we started by posing provocative questions to ourselves. How might the promise of what at the time was called an “internet of things” play out in the near future? What would the future look like in a world blanketed by advances in protection and surveillance technologies? If Autonomous Vehicle innovations continued its passionate race forward, what would it be to pick up the groceries, take a commercial airline flight, commute to work, have mail and parcels delivered, drop off the dry cleaning, meet friends at a bar across town, go on cross-country family vacations, or take the kids to sports practice or school?
Our design brief was to ask these questions and then represent the answers as design fictional services, evolutions of product categories and new kinds of social, domestic and retail experiences.
The result took the form of a catalog of the near future’s normal ordinary everyday. TBD Catalog is a design fiction that makes implications without making predictions. It sparks conversations about the near future. It serves to design-develop prototypes and shape embryonic concepts in order to discard them, make them better, reconsider what we may take for granted.”
Video Creative Director: Christian Svanes Kolding
Video Producers: Nicolas Nova and Julian Bleecker
Production Manager and Technical Director: Tom Bray
Co-Director of Photography and Camera Operator: Marcus Bleecker
Camera Operators: Zack Jacobsen-Weaver and Meghan Mulholland
Voice Over: Wen-Ting Yang
rootoftwo were one of ten regional design studios nominated by an advisory council and then selected according to a criteria that included material use, functionality, impact and potential international significance of work for the DETROIT MADE exhibition at College of Creative Studies, A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education during the Detroit Design Festival and at DDF Design Village @ DLECTRICITY. We showed our RBTS. The selected studios were: The Smith Shop; Detroit Wallpaper Co.; Cyberoptix Tie Lab; Carhartt; The Floyd Leg; rootoftwo, LLC; Ali Sandifer; Mobel Link; Sundberg Ferar; and Shinola.
John’s Re:ToolKit project was also featured.
We formed r+d LAB, LLC as a research-led collaborative entity to remix models of practice including laboratory, workshop, think-tank, garage, studio, and agency that lead to innovative approaches, designs and environments. r+d LAB grows out of a meshing of rootoftwo + daub-lab.
r+d LAB presented Rules of the Road at Liberty Annex, Ann Arbor as part of the Research on the City exhibition series.
Rules Of The Road: Connecting Chicago To Underutilized Freeway Infrastructure Zones
r+d LAB (Karl Daubmann, John Marshall, Cezanne Charles with Patrick Ethen, Ryan Goold, Qetuwrah Reed and Claire Matucheski).
Transportation infrastructure such as waterways, Roman roads, railroads or the federal highways have always informed the design of cities. The National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 forever changed transportation, economic flows, connectivity and the landscape of the US. The mechanical efficiency required for the success of the freeway is created through separation from everything that might slow it down, but unfortunately the benefits of speed created by separation are constantly at odds with the slower, finer-grained, human concerns of dense urban cores.
Chicago is a unique city to consider regional and local connectivity given the history of commerce and the transportation of goods into, around, and out of the city. Many designers have considered the forces, forms, and implications of the freeway with wholesale utopian visions of buildings and roads merging into mega-infrastructural proposals such as Chambliss’s 1910 “Roadtown” or Jellicoe’s 1961 Motopia. Rather than negate the rich existing conditions of Chicago and its infrastructure, Rules of the Road engages the Federal, parametric, Fordist logic of the freeway with the requirements of a post-Fordist city and proposes urban design strategies that mitigate environmental, social, and formal concerns with an architecture that engages underutilized freeway infrastructure zones.
We did some other stuff too. Cezanne completed a Masters degree at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan; John got tenure (see talk below) and promotion at the Stamps School of Art and Design and promotion at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Michigan; and John became the first Program Director of the new Master of Design in Integrative Design at the Stamps School.
The book that resulted from the ‘inter_multi_trans_actions: emerging trends in post-disciplinary creative practice’ symposium at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland on Thursday 26 June, 2008 is nearing publication.
The book ‘Digital Blur: Creative Practice at the Boundaries of Architecture, Design and Art’ edited by Paul Rodgers and Michael Smyth will now be published by Libri Publishing following Middlesex University’s decision to close Middlesex University Press.
According to Amazon the book is due on 31 March, 2010.
The book contains an essay by Julian Bleecker and myself that is preambled thus:
Marshall and Bleecker, in their essay, propose the term “undisciplinary” for the type of work prevalent in this book. That is, creative practice which straddles ground and relationships between art, architecture, design and technology and where different idioms of distinct and disciplinary practices can be brought together. This is clearly evident in the processes and projects of the practitioners’ work here. Marshall and Bleecker view these kinds of projects and experiences as beyond disciplinary practice resulting in a multitude of disciplines “engaging in a pile-up, a knot of jumbled ideas and perspectives.” To Marshall and Bleecker, “undisciplinarity is as much a way of doing work as it is a departure from ways of doing work.” They claim it is a way of working and an approach to creating and circulating culture that can go its own way, without worrying about working outside of what histories-of-disciplines say is “proper” work. In other words, it is “undisciplined”. In this culture of practice, they continue, one cannot be wrong, nor have practice elders tell you how to do what you want to do and this is a good thing because it means new knowledge is created all at once rather than incremental contributions made to a body of existing knowledge. These new ways of working make necessary new practices, new unexpected processes and projects come to be, almost by definition. This is important because we need more playful and habitable worlds that the old forms of knowledge production are ill-equipped to produce. For Marshall and Bleecker, it is an epistemological shift that offers new ways of fixing the problems the old disciplinary and extra-disciplinary practices created in the first place. The creative practitioners contained within the pages of this book clearly meet the “undisciplinary” criteria suggested by Marshall and Bleecker in that they certainly do not need to be told how or what to do; they do not adhere to conventional disciplinary boundaries nor do they pay heed to procedural steps and rules. However, they know what’s good, and what’s bad and they instinctively know what the boundaries are and where the limits of the disciplines lie.