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Lovely Sky (Participatory Imagineering)
Lucy Pawlak CEO in residence
(COE-IR)

2 August – 1 September 2013
Thur – Sun, 12—5pm or by appointment

Lovely Sky (participatory imagineering) explores how social space is constructed through collectively mapping an imagined public zone upon the walls and floors of Rhubaba.

As publicly owned and publicly produced public space steadily erodes, Lovely Sky sheds light upon attempts to choreograph our movements and script our experience within the landscape. Lovely Sky acts as a focus group for critical engagement with the privatisation and simulation of social space by corporations (both on- and off-line). The project aims to create space for a practical critique of the potential for improvisation and autonomy within an architectural structure. Technological advances in the programming of immaterial, virtual realms increasingly inform the construction of actual space; using coloured tape, cardboard, chalk, post-it notes, a specially designed interactive table and so much more, we can begin to re-appropriate strategies for augmenting reality.

Miming and co-opting corporate models for producing space were the starting point for exploring processes of historical-geographical transformation that might lead to the design of alternative spatiotemporal dynamics.

Over the course of August a series of Magic and Golden Hours provided an exciting programme of performances, workshops and round table discussions with special invited guests enriching the analysis, deconstruction, and development of the narrative cartography.

Events
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Magic Hour #001

 

This inaugural Magic Hour explored the process of selecting and tailoring certain historical narratives for the production of space.

Historian Dr Mark Jardine presented a portfolio of events occurring in the second half of 17th Century in the region of Edinburgh. This was followed by a brainstorming session focused on extracting elements of these events for deployment in the construction of a multifunctional public meeting place. Graphic Visualiser, Clare Mills opened up discussion around approaches to archiving events through her visual transcription of Mark’s presentation.

Dr Mark Jardine is a Scottish historian, television scriptwriter and prolific blogger. He has worked on the BAFTA award winning ‘A history of Scotland’ with Neil Oliver for BBC Scotland, ‘The Last Explorers’ and ‘Addicted to Pleasure’ with Brian Cox. His blog, Jardine’s Book of Martyrs, explores the world of the Scottish Covenanters. He also quite likes Serge Gainsbourg and French Sixties music.

Blog: http://drmarkjardine.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @drmarkjardine

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Magic Hour #002

Giving Space to Imagination: play space design and urban planning, a Family Workshop (for children and adults)

Playgrounds could be an artistic medium, but how can we tell what is a play-space and what isn’t?

To address these questions we became urban planners and designed an adventure playground. Participants mapped the plans for a community space onto the walls and floors of Rhubaba using coloured tape, cardboard, post-it-notes and chalk.

An Adventure Playground must relate to the needs of the community around it…They do not have to pay to enter, nor do they join as members – they just come to the playground when they feel like it. Such opportunities are rare in our modern society. Children use an Adventure Playground to explore their own potential and limitations through being allowed to participate in activities of their own choice. In short they use it to express freely their individuality, to asses themselves and other playground users, and subsequently learn more about themselves and the needs of others.

Taken from a National Playing Fields Association leaflet 1977

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Magic Hour #003

Verbal Description Training: A Public Workshop with Artlink
Verbal descriptions aim to use language to objectively convey the visual world to visually impaired people. They are used to describe artworks as well as surroundings while guiding and orientating a visually impaired person.  This training focused on the necessary skills to lead a descriptive tour for visually impaired people, in addition it aimed to explore the array of perspectives we have upon how we understand, describe and transcribe space. The workshop focused upon articulating the space being produced within Rhubaba. Materials produced during the workshop were reworked in the creative writing workshops unfolding over the rest of the month.
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Golden Hour #001

In The First Person
Working with a group of visually impaired people from Artlink we re-worked the text generated during the Verbal Description Training (a workshop open to the general public run by Artlink the day before).

The re-edited transcription of space acted as a way into investigating the process of communicating and (possibly even) inhabiting different experiences of the environment. We created sets of instructions for visitors to Rhubaba that might inspire different approaches to imagining the space.

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Golden Hour #002

If you were designing public place to congregate what would you need?

For this workshop young people from Leith Academy worked as a team of architects on designing and constructing a temporary structure / lodge to function as a study/meeting place within the Rhubaba that could potentially be re-constructed in the disused space at the back of the library so as to provide them with a common room. Emma Wood (Collective Architecture, Glasgow) acted as an advisor with Lucy Pawlak and members of the Rhubaba committee assisting.

As part of the session community based projects involving modification, reconstruction and redesign of pre-existing spaces were discussed (incl Hans Rucker Co, Michael Rakowitz, Assemble/ Folly For a Flyover, Recitas Urbanas / Santiago Cirugeda, Krjin De Koning)

See The Heidelberg Project, Detroit, on Google maps here

If we accept that society is made and imagined then we can also believe that it can be remade and reimagined
David Harvey, Spaces of Hope.

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Magic Hour #004

The clouds that race before my your her his our yours their faces. What the hell

a workshop with with Luke Williams.

Public space is only as interesting as the characters who populate it. And how public is public space, really? How much of an imprint is left upon it by the people who use it? What do the spaces we move through tell us about the people we pass? These are just some of the questions we might come up with on our collaborative writing workshop.

Stand with us as we look around at this space we’ve created together. A space we’ve imagined and peopled with a mob of characters or Points Of View. It’s not so much ‘public’ as ours.

Luke Williams is a writer based in London and Edinburgh. His first novel, The Echo Chamber, was published in 2011 and won the Saltire First Book Award. Luke’s practice is research-based and seeks, via collaborative practice and the use of formal constraints, to explore the gap between history and story. With his primary collaborator, the writer Natasha Soobramanien, Luke is currently working on a hybrid fiction based on the island of Diego Garcia.

You can download an edited version of some of the writing generated from this workshop here.

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Magic Hour #005

Summoning Sunday Bells

A group of cyclists visiting the space provided and opportunity to explore strategies and structures for collective musical improvisation (with or without a conductor?).

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Golden Hour #003

Getting Critical Distance

A floating meeting in an offsite location with the Rhubaba Committee, including reading a poem while treading water, sweet singing and making moves / landscaping on a hill.

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Magic Hour #006

Lucy Pawlak worked with performer Catriona James to re-shape written materials, maps and architectural structures produced over the course of the month and Lovely Sky culminated in a dramatic co-production of the space – a film without cameras tracing the story of the ceiling falling through under the weight of a great deluge set in motion by members of and visitors to Rhubaba.

Catriona is an actor and physical performer based in Cardiff, with a particular interest in devised work and cabaret. Recent work includes outdoor site-specific dance projects with Constanza Macras DorkyPark in Berlin, and National Theatre Wales in North Wales. Please see www.catrionajames.com for full credits and up-to-date news.

Associated Events

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The Inspection House (training for the family in how to act)
Rhubaba are pleased to present Lucy Pawlak’s feature film, The Inspection House (training for the family in how to act).

In Pawlak’s film, a prodigal son returns to his family home, a strange ingrown world deep inside the forest. He intends to train his relations to become actors according to his method. As the program unfolds his obfuscation of the line between fantasy and reality rises alongside his obsession with the “Hero’s Quest”, Hollywood’s standard narrative arc.

The structural principles of this monomyth are chewed up and regurgitated in this blackly comic look at roles and patterns within the family and society. The film employs various forms of improvisation around frameworks and reflects upon the potential for autonomy within structure. Masks are worn for the duration allowing for performers to switch between roles.

The Inspection House (training for the family in how to act) features The Samsonov Film and Theatre Co-Operative: Joaquin Del Paso, Catriona James, Adrian Gillott, Almira Bekkulova, Francis Moore, Tato Kotetishvili, Susan Pawlak, Gabriela Kite, Fredrik Olssen, Lucy Pawlak, Irek Grzyb and Maria Czechowska. Duration: 90 minutes.

Credits

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