Explore placesCreative project Factory
How well do you know the spaces in your neighborhood? The paths we walk every day seem so natural to us that we rarely actively think about what characterizes them and why we move along them the way we do. Are there young trees, old trees, or any trees at all? Who cleans the streets and what is left on them? Who do we meet on our paths and how wide are they, really? In this project, visit your everyday places and try to figure out why you feel the way you do there, what direction your thoughts turn, and how you reach your assumptions.
You will need
- large bag or pouch
- measuring tape
- sticky tape
- (Lego) building blocks
- cellphone for photos
Do you ever find yourself observing something?
For artist Johanna Klingler, observing is an important exercise, a practice in itself. Through observing, something can suddenly become visible that you hadn’t thought of before.
Put together a research kit in your favorite bag. Take everything from the list and put it inside. Feel free to add other things that you think will help you get to know your surroundings better.
Make a leporello (also known as a fanfold) from a piece of paper:
- Fold your piece of paper in half lengthwise.
- Fold the front layer in half again, back to the fold.
- Turn the paper over and fold the back layer to the fold as well.
- Now you should have a fanfold with four folded pages.
Begin your explorations and document the results in your fanfold. You don’t have to write and draw from left to right like you learned at school. Think of this sheet of paper as your own space—feel free!
Where are you standing right now and where do you want to go?
There are several ways to observe and understand your surroundings.
What we take for granted is the building we live in. It’s a shame really, because the houses, apartments, hallways and gardens around us are full of stories from the past.
Start asking questions about the house!
When was it built and for whom?
Does it stand out on the street or blend in with its surroundings?
Start by asking your neighbors who are older than you! They will surely know something or point you to other interesting places!
Keep your eyes open and ask questions about everything you see!
What things or shapes do you find on the ground in your street: chewing gum? Drops of water? Bird tracks?
Draw them in your fanfold!
How wide is the sidewalk?
Measure it with different benchmarks: tape, shoes/steps, jumps, building blocks.
Why do you think some sidewalks are wider and some are narrower?
Do you know when they were built and for whom?
Tip: Think of other words for them!
Record the results in your fanfold. Each unit of measurement can be given its own color and name.
Talk about it
Giampaolo Bianconi associates the term “site visit” with traveling, meeting new people, getting to know a new place and planning for the future—like on a pilgrimage.
What do you associate with a site visit?
- Look for gaps in the surface on your path. How do you think they were made?
- Take out the building blocks from your bag.
- Fill the gaps with your building blocks or highlight them with them—use your own discretion!
- Take photos of your sculpture with your phone and mark where you left them in your fanfold. Give the Lego-filled gaps a title!
- Leave the bricks for a week before collecting them again. Has your sculpture changed? What has it become in the meantime? Write it down in your fanfold!
From now on, count the number of benches on the path you are walking. Do you notice many places to sit? What do they look like? Where are they placed and how comfortable are they?
If there are not enough places to rest, draw in your fanfold where you would like to have some more. In this way, the fanfold can slowly develop into an alternative neighborhood map!
Design the seating options according to your needs. What do you think: Who uses benches the most?