Held at 107 Projects in Redfern
Feb 6 – 8
This first lab development kicked off in the heart of Redfern, not far from the projects original intended site in North Eveleigh. At the end of last year our negotiations for this site came to an abrupt halt when several changes happened to the administering authority. So part of this lab involved investigating some potential new sites.
The production crew and 18 artists on the project gathered for an intensive lab over three days to explore the conceptual framework for the project, investigate three proposed sites for the work, and initiate working collaborative relationships for the next two stages of development.
The lab included practical exercises for the development of ideas relating to the five interlocking themes: affordable housing, artist-led economies, urban renewal, the behaviour of cities, and permaculture.
An example of one exercise was a version of ‘exquisite corpse’: the artists were asked to form five groups of four and in five minutes write up a narrative about their dream house or place of habitation, which was used as the basis for a design brief which they then passed to the person on their left. As the design brief was passed through 3 more additional stages, a new request was made to 1) Realise the narrative as a drawing of the structure/habitation 2) A site report and map for locating the structure/habitation 3) A budget and logistic report on the structure/habitation 4) A marketing campaign to sell the final package as a dream home.
In the final iteration, the original creator of the narrative was asked to pitch their marketing campaign to the whole group. This was done in many performative and creative ways.
The intention of this exercise was to get the group working togther in small intensive groups sharing their ideas about what they consider to be an ideal home, an to open up their personal ideas about what home means, and in the process learn more about each other as a collaborative group. It was also used to apply four specific approaches to design with material delivered as provocations in a hot-house environment. The results certainly enabled us start the conversation about housing and place-based identity – a key theme in the creation of the work – in a way that was performative, and in a charged environment.
On the second day of the lab, 3 teams were curated and sent to a designated site to document, and explore the possibilities and challenges of each potential site. Reconvening in the afternoon, each team presented a SWOT analysis of their site, with images and narrative of the exploration. At the conclusion of the day we plotted each site on a Plausibility/Impact graph to help us identify the viability of each site.
On the third day we spent the morning mapping out the various ideas on a matrix of the five themes informing conceptual material for the project, through the four mediums/platforms the work will manifest as (installation/encounter/discursive/site-specific/stakeholders). We also used this time to work through the preliminary production aspects related to the site and the next stage of development. We also established the design parameters for the next stage development. In the afternoon, we presented an informal showing of the results of our lab to a small audience of peers, producers, and partners.