Over the last few months the Wasteland Collective has morphed into a new and exciting entity. We are in the process of becoming the first Scottish landscape architecture CIC (Community Interest Company) and have a shiny new website to show off too! www.thehereandnow.org.uk
We are really pleased with what the Wasteland Collective has achieved and can’t wait to keep up the momentum within our new company. Our ethos is in line with what the Wasteland Collective started, but has expanded into three main areas: Designing, Curating and Engaging. Here + Now hopes to make influential changes in how we see and use the places around us. We have many exciting projects, events, collaborations and much more on the go, and would love for anyone passionate about creating better places to pop on over to our new website, have a browse and sign up to our mailing list!
We are excited about developing the Wasteland Collective into something even more active, unique and meaningful that is Here. Now.
Thanks for all the support for WC and we hope to see you on the other side!
Introducing the wasteland collective…Sam Patterson
The project I am presenting was concieved and delivered as a two week workshop at the European Architecture Students Assembly in Helsinki in 2012, the theme of the assembly was ‘wastelands’. We were based in an area of Helsinki and developed a group observation project and saw that people felt free to make the wastelands their own as a way of escaping urban city life.
These wastelands were definded by their construction site appearance but the reality was a vibrant and creative community delivering their own projects and attracting other people to the area, so many infact that they were able to sustain an independant cafe.
….. What we did
With the assistance of Diarmaid Lawlor from Architecture and Design Scotland, 10 architecture students took ‘a reading’, making observations and looking for opportunities to collaborate and improve. We spoke to people as we walked through the site to learn from them and gather local opinion on ideas we were developing, we needed ‘a connection’.
We selected ‘a site’, an old hut on the edge of helsinki harbour and developed ‘a project’ to tidy and repair the existing hut, turning it into a changing room and creating a seating area.
A Reading, A Connection, A Site, A project and A Peformance….
….. What will you do in public?
Introducing the wasteland collective…Euan Maharg + Guy Phenix
This project raises awareness of wasteland acoustics through photography and sonic installation. The essence of a wasteland is absence – physical absence and the absence of program. These absences mean that the instrumental qualities wastelands are different to that of occupied land. As occupation leaves, a site goes from producing sound to absorbing sound. From making a noise to near silence.
This is an acoustic wasteland.
I aim to document the acoustic wastelands left behind by 2 railway sites along Leith Walk – the old tram depot/repair shop and a cut-off bridge above the road itself.
The effect of having such a quite place amongst a great urban noise is profound. Any architecture on-site acts as a resonating chamber like that of a violin – changing the sound as materials reverberate and absorb the waves around.
Any open space* is laid bare to every noise in all directions – creating a soup of distant roars that is punctuated by the more delicate calls of birds and other small sounds that are related to the sites ecology and decay. The height and size of an open wasteland determine this acousmatic distance**.
*a space that is open in more directions that it is closed
**acousmatic – a sound in a film or in the landscape where the source is obscured.
Introducing the wasteland collective…Mettje Hunneman
Mettje Hunneman set up video LaB in 2008 at the then new Art’s Complex, inviting fellow filmmakers to viewings and discussions in a social setting. Videophiles, visual artists and musicians meet to showcase a wide range of audiovisual works and live performance in an inspirational laboratory-style setting. All about experimentation, collaboration and dialogue between different art forms.Since its foundation, video LaB has become an established part of Scotland’s creative scene, seeing Mettje connect and collaborate with a wide range of artists and performers and inspiring a new generation of video artists through a dynamic programme of events and workshops.
We’re delighted Mettje’s collaborating with us. The work she does to bring the outside in, and the inside out fits in so well with The Wasteland Collective‘s ideas about offering greater access to our shared urban realm streets and spaces. Mettje is interested in capturing the everyday, bringing to the fore the sights and sounds of everyday life but amplifying them to make them meaningful which sums up brilliantly an aspect of ‘what wastelands can be’!
Introducing the wasteland collective…Lisa Jeffrey + Liz Thomas
What are wastelands?
We use the term ‘wastelands’ to be provocative, to stir peoples’ sense of pride and to challenge those who ‘make the rules’ about what is acceptable and what is good enough. How much MORE could our streets and spaces do? What are the layers of life and function which could be added?
Take the example of urban streets, which are typically the result of traffic engineering solutions. They are designed for movement, especially if you are driving a car! We consider these ‘wastelands’ because these streets waste the chance to be so much more…
We believe all urban land, as it is currently planned, is under-utilised. Think along the streets and spaces you know: how many functions do they perform? And if you let your imagination go, what might you like to be able to do there! ‘Wasteland’ is anywhere which is under performing, perhaps engineered for singular function or a built with a limited user group in mind.
What can wastelands be?
We think most urban land could do much more. For the people who live there, for people who visit, for nature, for culture… our urban environments should be alive and open to all.
Positive places for urban life are made when people feel welcome to occupy them and act out their lives in them. Literally, ‘living in public’. When these places are linked and connected, we have urban landscapes — buzzing with vitality and potential.
We have been looking at Edinburgh’s urban streets and spaces as they stand, and adding anchors for urban recreation, urban growing, urban play, urban life. Our project offers one such little anchor in the wasteland of the average streetscape, something to take hold of and invite you to feel part of this environment. Our chairs built from reclaimed palettes offered a spot to belong in the most unlikely of places; certainly unlikely, but unquestionably appreciated! Here’s a wee preview… but come along to the Wastelands ‘Do It In Public‘ exhibition to see more!
Our Do It In Public exhibition is taking shape and the collective is pulling together to develop some really interesting approaches and responses to urban wastelands. The group of artists, designers, film makers, architects and landscape architects that are involved in the exhibition have taken various approaches to question, record and redefine what our modern cities do for us and how we can ask for more. Over the next wee while we will be giving over some of our blog entries to the members of the wasteland collective and the Do It In Public exhibitors to give you a taster of the exhibition work!
Watch this space…
We are planning to hold a week long exhibition about urban wastelands beginning on the 19th July 2013. We are hoping to confirm use of a city centre gallery or pop-up space in the next few days… we’ll keep you posted!
We are looking for contributors and collaborators: if you are interested in being part of the exhibition, check out the brief below and get in touch…
We are presenting an exhibition which contains a variety of work that represents, reveals and challenges wastelands. The exhibition will include work which uses a variety of media to address the wasteland topic. These could be anything from sound pieces, projections, paintings, film to 1:1 built design ideas … the more creative the better!
We would like you to use one of two starter themes to influence the work you create for the exhibition…
1) What are wastelands? What are the signs of a wasted space / how can we challenge what constitutes a ‘wasteland’?
2) What can wastelands be? What is the potential of wasted / underused space and how can it be more creativity and imaginatively used?
The exhibition will have an equal focus on both themes.
If you are not available on July 19th we are still open to including your work in the exhibition but please inform us if this is the case.
How to take part
Please submit a short paragraph (150-200 word) outline of your idea and an indication of what you would like to exhibit to the email address below. The idea could be one that you have already been developing but which would fit in with the wasteland exhibition theme. Please email us with this information by Friday 21st June. After this date we will organise a time to meet with contributors, with the possibility of bringing different projects together to workshop proposals and form a number of project focuses. We would also like to arrange for some of the people involved to contribute to our growing blog site.
Share this link with anyone who might be interested in taking part.
The Wasteland Collective