Future Everything: Community

Session Two 01/04/16 Speakers: Sarah Kember Professor of New Technologies of Communications, Goldsmiths College.Madelaine Ashby, Science fiction authorMatthew Leung / Assemble: Architect/Turner Prize winner 2015

Professor Sarah Kember: Restor(y)ing Resources/ value of stories being devalued in todays society where we are required to think in terms of evidence, quantifiable outcomes and solidity not speculation or fiction. Science fiction all but divorced from the idea of dissent or disruption towards a view which is predictive or a blueprint based in fact not an imagined future. Consideration of ‘glass’ as a current metaphor, glass as representation of openness, transparency, ideation. Think of Google Glass and its potential to raise the users field of view, to look up from the device and see technology through the device, but with a greater sense of engagement with the world around you. Also looking at the potential of tension in oppositions:

real/ideal    future/past  smart/dumb   transparent/opaque    sterile/sexist    word/world

A reminder to question to impression of openness, just because Google is ‘open’ does not remove the structures of power, ask yourself what is closed? blocked? opaque? and adopt a position of questioning certainty where ever it presents itself. Science fiction does not become science fact –  is it more like prototyping? undetermine the future and challenge the linear.

Matthew Leung: Assemble

“…the creative act at what ever level is one of hope and optimism” probably misquoted but in essence a true reflection of the content. This was a paper based in hope and making the most of short term opportunities to act/intervene or provoke. Position taken that there is a real need to value the small acts that are not driven by top down direction or initiative, the ability to respond to the void and the economic uncertainty in even small individual ways is a creative act.

The Assemble project in Toxteth is well documented elsewhere – but the essential message taken from this session is one that: vacant spaces and short time scales can enable degrees of risk and experiment that is a direct function of the limitations. That time scales can and do change and extend beyond initial limits in response to the acts we we undertake.

We need to think differently about how we restore and the way we use art/design/craft/making skills are all part of this re:thinking and enabling of a community. Importance of  understanding the location/the area – get to know the origins of objects and allow chance to bring materials together in new ways. You will gain confidence through telling the stories of an area. Fictions as insight to community extended narrative engagements. Beware of solutionism – yes protagonists are needed but in the first instance the role is to listen not fix. Design for a community rather than design a community for people. Do not assume and allow people to self determine.

Ask why? understanding/compassion/empathy.

Consider the act of taking control: ask what are you dwelling on inwork/home/life – deal with what you are avoiding and engage with this first.

Focus on the ability to make a case for a project and to work out how it will operate in practice. This requires envisioning., visualisation, imagination and perhaps depiction.

The  library as the traditional place of learning perhaps in need of redefining as the workshop as the new model for a place of learning and conversation. The term ‘man-shed’   is used as a place where conversations about the act of making can take place.

Example of the Black Horse Workshop 

Example of the Granby Workshop

Website Assemble 

Author: Ian Whadcock

Senior Lecturer Manchester School of Art, BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation course.

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