Machines of civic pleasure
The city is a collection of objects/ appliances/ machines which shape the space they take up. These objects may bring on various activities, warp the way we perceive time and space and affect our behaviour and our senses, inducing delight (and/or pain).
Quite often the relations they form with the urban environment are symbiotic and are built on interaction/interdependence. The fact that these objects are always around us and are familiar to us, makes these dynamic relations invisible even when it concerns their most essential functions.
This workshop aims at motivating students to examine, reconstruct and distance themselves from these objects which are an integral part of urban landscape, with the intention of awakening our senses to embrace delight and of cultivating an understanding of this symbiotic relationship between a handmade construction and the urban environment. The students will explore what the public function of these objects is, in connection with symbiosis and delight. There are three symbiotic relationships: mutualistic, commensal and parasitic. The students will select one of them and then they will construct a “machine” establishing such a relationship with the city and install it at a public space in Volos, stirring the users’ feelings of delight through the senses.
SCAN: We will appoint an area within the city of Volos. Study the area carefully. Visit the area repeatedly at different times during a day. Take notice of the symbiotic relationships existing in the area and of the possibility to interact with them. Select a certain spot in the area for your installation. After selecting the spot, make a detailed ground plan using notes, sketches, diagrams, photographs and/or videos. This spot will determine what the public function of your machine will be. Prepare a presentation in order to show the attributes and character of your spot and to determine the reason for the existence of your installation (that is the way in which your installation will exist in a symbiosis with the city).
RAG COLLECTION: The city will be the source which will supply you with materials needed for the machine. Make instinctual decisions and avoid the obvious.
Begin this project by looking for objects and materials that can be used to stimulate and sharpen your senses. Their initial shape and usage are of no importance. Remember that you will reintegrate and reassemble them so that they can relate to the spot you have selected and to the reason for the existence of your installation. You may have to steal or even to beg. Design the assembly of your machine and add this to the presentation as a further layer of information.
CONSTRUCTION: Think with your hands. Deconstruct the objects and assemble them again in different ways. Combine the materials and design the way they are connected clearly and in detail. You will need to have the desire to experiment in order to explore the aesthetic quality of your materials and the prowess of your tools. Find new ways in which the objects you have collected can be used.
INSTALLATION: Your machine will “converse” with the city to allow us to discover and enjoy it in innovative ways. It must be able to form new relationships with its environment and its users. You are free to hang, bolt, balance, connect, project and/or float the object in its position. The installation method that you will select will be of great importance to the nature of the object and to its relationship with the city. Define the way in which human bodies interact with your object which is now installed in its environment.
Daily schedule of the workshop (duration: 3 weeks)