Something different this week for me on public radio 99.1 KBU and select websites everywhere:
Taking advantage of the latitude of what constitutes art and entertainment, instead of viewing a performance or a new gallery or museum exhibit, as I commonly, do, I recently visited something called the Ideas Campus.
Tucked away on a non descript side street in Culver City, the industrial building and the tech interior cluttered with work stations and manned by earnest looking students, was promising.
Very much a conceit of UCLA’s department of architecture and urban design, the campus is the relatively new home of a post professional program labeled the Suprastudio. According to its publicity, this is where “students engage in real–world issues through intensive research to develop new methodologies of architectural design.”
It is a educational precept I enthusiastically embrace, having taught creative and critical thinking at the Art Center College of Design in the 90s, and several years later at UCLA conducting a graduate landscape studio focused on derelict properties.
My academic pursuit of imaginative practical applications also were tested by assignments I concurrently held in the real world, including senior creative consultant to Disney Imagineering and various Howard Hughes corporation endeavors. .
So when Suprastudios announced a symposium exploring, “how artists and architects can transform urban space through temporary events and intelligent actions in an increasingly digital and privatized world.” I signed up.
I for one am quite concerned for the pressing need of more friendly public spaces and places, especially in an increasing alienating tech obsessed world. But the event unfortunately turned out to be a very mixed affair, if anything demonstrating the need for more user perspectives and advocacy, and less CAD design.
To be sure, there were several engaging presentation. Patricia Ruel offered a glimpse into the impressive creative process of the Cirque du Soleil and the Moment Factory, though one must question its applicability to low cost placemaking.
This was the focus of the presentation of Elizabth Timme of the street smarts LA. Mas. It site specific efforts were laudable, if not particularly original. And it does deserve praise for its battles with city of L.A. whose bureaucracy, as most local bureaucracies, are a morass. Nothing new here.
Most interesting, and applicable, were the various projects reviewed by Paloma Strelits, of the London-based design group Assemble. I particularly appreciated its user advocacy, including on behalf of the increasing senior demographic, which not incidentally I am. Public spaces and parks should not only for mingling kids or milling millenniums.
I would have liked to have heard more relevant discussion from the panel, but the moderator Mark Mack unfortunately did not moderate his self reverential remarks.
Not like me, of course,