Late last year I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Brennan, a Beacon, NY based artist and faculty at Pratt. Earlier that year she had completed her Squanderless project, which has great correlation to efforts taking place in Poughkeepsie.
She describes Squanderless as follows:“Squanderless.com is a family portrait using live data of domestic waste. It is a visual meditation on the objects and materials that pass through our lives each day. Inspired by research on the subject, including Italo Calvino’s ‘La Poubelle Agréée,’ I created the site in September 2009 with the aim of posting daily photographs of individual items of trash. Each item has associated tags according to material, weight, user, function, and color. Users are able to literally sort through our trash. A motivated participant can produce specific results—for instance, who is the primary user of a specific material, what function is associated with the color yellow, what are the total number of items for a certain weight category. They may also choose to “show me” their own trash. Squanderless is an ode to the object – offering a trace of its presence in our lives and the implied narrative. There is little text, simply images and tags – an online product catalog of consumed, rather than consumable, objects – begging the questions, what is the emotional resonance of these things that surround us?”
This summer Jean will be working with PAUSE on two efforts. She will be developing a project of her own and at the same time leading a group of students from her Design Advocacy class at Pratt. Last week we had our first meeting with those students to do an initial tour of Poughkeepsie.
Here is a description of the class -“This class will educate students on how to conceive and execute projects for social change. The non-profit world is seeking new ways to support their constituencies through design strategy. This class invites students to use their creative thinking skills to frame challenges, seek opportunities, and offer innovative ways to communication on the topic. Emphasis will be on projects with real-world outcomes that directly impact peoples’ lives and are rooted in a target community. For students interested in working in the social sector, this class offers an occasion to understand the role that design advocacy can play.”
In late 2010 PAUSE began talking with Clearwater to discuss possible collaborations between environmental and cultural efforts taking place in the Hudson Valley. This conversation has lead to a fruitful series of discussions about the Fallkill, a small creek that travels through Northern Dutchess County before turning through Poughkeepsie and emptying in the Hudson River.
For years several concerned citizens and organizations have gathered together to focus attention on the creek as the Fallkill Watershed Committee. Supported through Clearwater, this group has lead a multitude of events and activities to build greater understanding about the creek. They have studied glass eel migration, water management, and taken water samples from the Fallkill. They have organized clean ups removing tons of trash and material long thrown into the creek. The objective their efforts has been to increase awareness and build support for improving the ecological quality of the Fallkill.
As a part of a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Clearwater, the Fallkill Watershed Committee and PAUSE have come together to develop a Green Urban Corridor Master Plan for the Fallkilll. We reached out to Janette Kim of the Urban Landscape Lab at Columbia University to spear head an effort to devise this plan. She in turn has brought together landscape architect Alice Feng and environmental engineer Eric Rothstein of eDesign Dynamics to form a team that develop a future for the Fallkill as it runs through Poughkeepsie.
Working with Ryan Palmer at Clearwater and the Committee we will be engaging the community in the design process and organizing a series of public meetings for broader audiences.
More information about the projects is below.
Tom Hughes – Artist
Project Proposal – Full PDF
Over the course of a few days, hopefully with some assistance, I will be building a time machine out of cardboard and acrylic panels. It will be screwed together, flimsy and less than precise. It will house skylights that are filled with text panels. It will not last very long. It will work with words.
Ostensibly, it will be an incomplete shelter; a set of partial walls that arc over into the suggestion of a roof. It will be open to access from all sides, and one side of the materials will be more finished to define a space that can be thought of as the interior.
Due to the nature of the text: in the course of its construction, it will become a monument to the period of time during which it was built, the location at which it was built, and the actual event of its creation. It will refer to all those who both create and experience it, as they are doing so.
For as long as it stands, people will be able to enter into its space and use it. The text will refer to the exact moment at which it is being read, transporting the reader/viewer to that moment. This phenomenon might occur so suddenly and subtly it could be overlooked. To the casual viewer, it will look like a little pavilion, shelter from the sun or rain. To those who use it, they will be transported directly to now.
Artists Amos Scully and Matthew Slaats collaborated on building two portable soccer goals that then could be used in the streets to play a game. On July 18th, 3 players showed up on Rose St., placed the goals in the middle of the street and had a game of soccer. This took place again on July 19th and will continue to take place throughout the summer of 2010.
In the end the goals were left as a gift to the street, allowing others to use them.