March 9, 2009

Conference call summary - Rebargroup

Conference call and summary
Rebargroup: Blaine Merker and John Bela
(apologies for pidgin English)

Summary to-dos:
John and Blaine request of each person: post a picture, secret talents and special powers, area of study, "where you're coming from" (general interests).

Your research for the week of March 9-13:
Explore potential sites on campus, make photos, notes, identify unmet needs in spaces, come up with candidate sites. Let sites frame the problem for us, leaving open the design response and take cues from the sites

Conference call:

3 different sites, maybe pick more then narrow them down.

order materials over sp. bk., have them here to begin on friday when workshop starts

examples: furniture not obvious what function is, left open for people to explore a function.

blaine: we'll be coming as 'one more team,' bringing bushwaffle project, experimenting w/new prototype versions, will share. projects will be more successful when they are more open ended..."forget" how furniture works, what is minimal intervention we can do to allow for maximum positive change. simple intervention, may not look like anything they've seen before.

katie: is there anything else with your general approach in addressing public space that's important...what about campus vs. urban space, different concerns?

blaine: yes, we deal with more urban projects mostly. not too familiar with campus or town. we'll rely on you to do the scouting and find potential sites to work in. not sure if on campus or in town, you tell me what would be most easy to work in. interested in anywhere people use space.

cory: while scouting spaces, talk to people in the spaces...what about a bed over by msc?

(john bela joins call)

katie: campus is most active and best place to talk about public space

john: campus can be good laboratory; more leniency than in urban place?

katie: campus is large; space is sidewalks plazas people move through; grassy areas for sitting

(general agreement the most people/traffic are found on campus)

john: spaces where people move; pause; are set up to accomodate behaviors, then there are spaces where there is a desire to socialize, pause, rest, but physical structure isn't there. identify places that need something, some quality of environment where we can set up temporary social space. identify candidates for interventions. places we can introduce something to fulfill that need.

blaine: people don't always know they need something in a space, can hang out and watch what's happening, watch to see how they occupy a space and identify a potential.

how important is temp component?

blaine: could develop into permanent intervention, but one quality that helps frame problem is that it's ephemeral, either temporary or permanent ephemeral...moveable seating for instance in european'll be easier to think about if it can be rapidly deployed on site, lightly. thinking about permanent installations we don't have time to do might work for later.

john: could prototype a temporal thing that becomes permanent later. focus on accomplishing a prototype during the workshop.

katie: combination of bushwaffle, and vendor cart idea, interested in vending use?

john: yes, view as piece of infrastructure a city might develop, as part of city infrastructure. cities have been removing such structures due to issues about safety, so spaces are devoid of creature comforts. vending system approach in place for bicycles, cars, could be developed. how will fellow students interface with what you develop? designing a social interaction that allows people to give themselves permission to walk up to the odd thing you've provided...not just a physical object, but a social transaction is designed. when people see something weird, they just walk by it. we want them to get distracted by it for an hour.

katie: still want to be encouraging lighthearted community, allowing people to interact in enjoyable way?

j,b: no, we hate social interaction :)

we get a pretty good response, totally playful. goes a long way in opening people up to other possibilities.

kate: bringing everything needed for bushwaffle?

blaine: we'll bring bw. with us we've already produced, can play with those. over next couple of weeks we'll research raw materials to make other inflatables, will work with you ... sheet plastic, plastic sealer welder for simple inflatables. have queried recyclable plastics so we can get alt to pvc. not sure what's going to come through yet, we'll see what we get.

materials research lab on campus? locate

katie: is it important the materials are found, recyclable, sustainable?

john: yes, particularly for temporary interventions. ethos we bring to it: either we're using repurposed, recycled materials, and we know where we'll recycle it after it's over.
important to know where we find it, where it ends up.

katie: this week, we'll id sites and issues. about forming groups

blaine: groups will be informed by site research. as you post findings on blog, issues will emerge. observations such as how people congregate and chat, how can interventions be designed will emerge, then groups and concepts could form around those. or, could do it arbitrarily just to move ahead.

jb: different disciplines work together and have to sort things out, that could be fruitful. if drawn to that rec form interdisciplinary teams.

barrett: bushwaflle: do you want us to rally around bw or concepts, materials, or is it more open ended?

jb: bw just one type of sort of thing we're working on, has more history, has design issues to refine. we're looking at it as something we bring to the week. we may not even make more, may do different things. we don't want you to just focus on our project or our idea, but want you to have freedom to think on it, you can participate with bw or own your own idea. we'll work alongside you on bushwaffle but also with your own ideas.

blaine: bw's current design has shape that allows us to do 2D tesselations. joined together using grommets, has components that allow you to assemble clusters of objects in spaces. just begun to address formal characteristics of bw...if someone has good 3D modeling skills could look at alternate shapes so we could address 3D tesselations to construct larger aggregate shapes.
if someone has a particular interest in that, parametric modeling stuff, would be great.

ricardo: would be helpful to find site for bw?

blaine: yes, helpful if site research covers this, scope it out.

katie: about rain or sun exposure a problem?

jb: bw is all weather outdoor device...used in water, on asphalt, in rain...bring it on.

katie: anything crucial about public space or past of public space we should look at?

jb: not sure you can do a lot of research on that topic, we posted some things to look at on blog. in every space there is a set of unwritten social codes that goven behavior. in the next couple of weeks develop a new set of eyes, become good watchers, keen observers, let observations inform design ideas.

blaine: observe how people respond to dif. physical environments, how they discourage, encourage behavior, how spaces reinforce this.

research sites this coming week, pics, notes, materials

post on blog with design ideas, post solutions to other posts

wait to form groups until info comes in

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