Part of 10 Different Things, this work was a series of participatory workshops that reconceptualized the city and city-making processes as dynamic and collaborative sculpture. Thinking about the feedback from participants in the workshops sent me into the archives to get some sense of why we think about Vancouver the way we do.
I invited people to use sculptural materials to augment their conversations about city building. Before each workshop, a grid pattern was marked on the floor in tape. Participants were asked to make an assemblage within the grid. Branches, boxes, fabrics, metal tubes, fur etc. were brought in for the building. Participants might be asked to choose a stick or pole, a box and some fabric to make a construction within a square of the grid. The grid was presented metaphorically as a representation of city lots.
Participants were asked to expand the construction by extending the city metaphor. For example, people might be asked where the public square should go or the transit hub.
At the end of a session, people were asked to develop instructions to guide the next group to do the workshop. In this way, each session had three stages: the initial building that was directed by instructions coming from a previous group, a second build when participants were encouraged to explore and consider new rules and a final stage were participants collectively decided what rules they would like to assign to the next group.