On Saturday, June 30, we held our public activation #1 event of the summer. On this extremely hot day, we had two teams kicking-off their projects – Our Great, Great Wall and Chicago Extra Large.
OUR GREAT, GREAT WALL team met inside in a cool first floor room that was formerly one of the two kindergarten classrooms. I facilitated a conversation between architect Jen Park (Jurassic Studio), designer Norman Teague (Blkhaus Studios) and SAIC students Ravina Puri and Maurico Casian. We discussed their recent collaborative instillation at SAIC called Our Great, Great Wall. We considered how it could be remade at this new location keeping in mind the guiding themes of 8x3 Art + Architecture.
Our Great, Great Wall started by selecting iconic images of American architecture, landscape, and art and creating a list of adjectives ranging from positive to negative. Students were asked to match each image with the word that best fits. Using this pairing, the team created a simplified, kaleidoscoping graphic taking the initial image as a repeating unit and making design modifications in spirit of the paired adjective. With this new graphic and adjective pairing, building blocks were fabricated and assembled creating the wall.
"Our Great, Great Wall is a reminder of the inherent political significance of our designed objects and spaces. Our Great, Great Wall is a call to action for designers use forms and spaces to participate in the political discourse. Our Great, Great Wall is a site of diversity and collectivity as the building blocks of beauty."
A New Life: How could this installation be reimagined while keeping the guiding themes in mind? The building blocks were built to stack in an oblique fashion, requiring support of some kind. This sparked a discussion on the support mechanism and how that could be metaphorical for community and new ideas supporting thoughtful design. Could participants personalize new supporting building blocks in a way that depicts their connection to the former Overton Elementary school, the Bronzeville neighborhood, or their hopes for the building as a future tech and entrepreneurship hub? These are some of the initial ideas that will be further developed and constructed in our next activation on July 28th.
CHICAGO EXTRA LARGE + TRACKING ROOM team met in classroom #109 to brainstorm the next iteration of the research about Closed Chicago Public Schools from 2013. The large-scale map of Chicago in the parking lot will continue to be worked on by adding more layers of information: legend, color code status of school sites (repurposed, sold, for sale), and highlight of the South Side neighborhoods. The team also is planning to make a stronger connection of the map in the parking lot and one of the classrooms where they are also exploring a three-dimensional visualization of the 10 schools that are located within the South Side Area. Stay tuned.
-A Bronzeville resident
-An architect, designer or artist
-Curious about 8x3 Art + Architecture
-Or all of the above?
Come join us at the Former Anthony Overton School for our next public activation on July 28th, 2-6pm! Check out the Creative Grounds website for more information.
Hope to see you there!