Well it’s Tuesday morning and the opening of our Do It In Public show on Friday was a great success. We’ve cleaned up the empties and had time to contemplate what it is like to plan, organise and put together an exhibition as a couple o’ landscape architects. The answer is …tough but rewarding! However, when working ‘In Public’ at the gallery yesterday, we began talking about how we can use the exhibition as an example of demonstrating a landscape architects skills. Our aim to promote and redefine landscape architecture can only be helped by the exhibition but we hope that it pushes us to remain open-minded and varied in our approaches to work. It seems many people are diversifying in the nature of their professions and we think landscape architects needs to step up to this too. Come along to Do It In Public and be inspired to rethink landscape architecture and to witness that many areas of work can come together to influence change in the urban environment !
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!
Come along to our exhibition :
Do It In Public
In the Tent Gallery, Evolution House, 78 West Port, Edinburgh, EH1 2LE
We open on Friday 19th July from 5-7pm and will have refreshments provided by Brewdog!
The exhibition runs until Friday 26th July.
This exhibition contains work from various artists and designers that explores, illustrates and challenges what wastelands are and can be. The work aims to influence change in the urban environment and inspire better solutions for wasted, residual spaces. The exhibition space is set up to be used as a resource for rethinking and revealing what wasteland can be and to get the public contemplating what space is worth in the landscape of their city.
Hope to see you there!