Monday, 25 July 2011

BREEAM Sustainable Communities

News that Malmo Western Harbour has just been awarded the first BREEAM Sustainable Communities Standard outside of the UK and I have mixed views about the award of a badge of sustainability. The mixed perspective is due to the need for branding on top of the expo credentials and the actual investment, including the cost, of gaining such a 'brand' badge. It should be a positive step to set an objective standard for area based sustainability but it does seem to conflict with LEED ND standard, which is in effect a more co-operative standard. A good thing if you are the BRE but important to remember there are other sustainability badges and franchises.

Reference: Young, Karen [2011] "Assessing the Sustainability of a Major Swedish Development" Constructing the Future, Summer 48 p13.

Off Sites: Spaces of Possibility

Urban planners have an existing concept around Third Place Theory where public arts venues fit into a wider theory. Basically, first place is 'home', second place is 'work' and the third places are ...? And here you enter into a simple set of rules about what are the essential and desirable components of a 'third place'. In practice these turn out to be beer gardens,public houses, pavement cafes as well as the art gallery and public spaces. They are places where the different members of the community can hang out. The rules [according to Oldenburg] of 'Third Places' are free and open public access on neutral ground to somewhere the principle purpose is conversation, debate and exchange of ideas. At a local level some of these rules have made in into formal policy and practice - one example is the promotion of 'Neutral Spaces' in contested public areas in Belfast. And a lot has been written [best account by Anna Minton] around the
trend to privatise the so-called public realm and gated communities. From these rules it is clear that not every public space is neutral or even public. It also seems significant that digital exclusion makes web spaces more exclusive then they need to be, and social networking has a geography very different to any individual city.
The challenges seem to be for creative individuals and arts collectives to explore how they can use non-gallery spaces more effectively. While there are recognizable trends for pop-up shops, theatre, cinema and gallery space, these are still based on a update of an existing and widely recognized concept of a shop, theatre, cinema etc....

Off site galleries have the potential to be more than galleries. What is preventing a building or space already occupied from extending the current use into that of an art gallery? Or visa versa? Interested to look at the possibilities and support the debate.

References: Oldenburg Ray [1989] The Great Good Place [Marlowe & Company, New York]. Gaffikin, Frank et al. [2008] Public Space for a Shared Belfast: A research report for Belfast City Council. Minton, Anna [2009] Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city [Penguin, London].

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Architects of Air

Traffic Barrier Seating

I'm not really sure where this is from and who made it ... but nice and simple enough as to not require any instructions if you want to make your own.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Leo Fitzmaurice

While the idea of deconstructed packets by artist Leo Fitzmaurice made me smile, the purpose behind it is as to the point as any art can be. In the words of Robert Clark ... "This is the kind of daft thing artists do: adapting the cast-offs of consumer culture through a process of determined and obsessive repetition to an agenda that is all the more delightful for being so utterly futile". [Ref: Guardian Guide 16-22 July 2011 p36].

Friday, 15 July 2011

Junction Box Art

Nice article about Leeds Junction boxes that make sense of some of the images we shot last week or so in Leeds City Centre. Download a map of the locations here.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Allotment Art

Have a look at this article for a look at more images of art based on an allotment. Strong images of an attractive do-it-yourself lifestyle.


Interesting movement in political messages in a creative manner on the streets of Kabul. This seems to be the real point of public art - in seeking to promote debate in an alternative way. Much better than political posters on lamp-posts. Reference; Burke, Jason [2011] "Grafitti guerrillas: Kabul's writing on the walls". Guardian 13th June p19.