Far beyond the limited concept of networking, the panels and workshops offered a platform to hear concepts and meet the people behind the banners shown here. For us here at popuphood it meant a chance to meet a few heros and a few new allies to go deeper and explore collaboration in the future. The thrilling aspect of this much intelectual capital shouldering around a tiny pavilion drinking wine in the diffused Venetian sun is this: an exalted feeling that these people are one's own, a intersecting tribe of 124 "interventionists" thinkers, writers, curators and artists.
My personal reasons for Co-Founding a social venture were centered around two things. One, I wanted to shift my art practice from the margins of cultural production to the center urban life. What does that transition look like? It emerged from social practice, employing public art and a tool for civic engagement and transformed into a social enterprise framing similar activities as urban design for public good. Two, this transition had everything to do with joining the broader conversation around how we shape our cities to serve and sustain us in the future. During the opening days of the Venice Biennale we met people to measured and position and align our goals with and against to better understand what we might look like in five years as a company, or what we might have looked like if we had gone a different path. These flash-points of connection and discovery were extremely valuable and helped us hone our approach as we look to accelerate our progress here in Oakland and other cities.
I will be posting more in the coming weeks, but I will say that the two questions that buzzed in the air after all the panels and glasses of wine were these: is this innovation sustainable, either financially or institutionally? How can we create a platform to continue this conversation to build on successes, push past failures, and network innovation across or even within cities?
Mimi Zeiger, of loudpaper has led the charge to continue the conversation by creating a an online think tank:
"City Sessions is a forum discussion board open to the public for commentary and debate. LGNLGN is a think tank at the intersection of architecture and publishing. Composed of architects, urbanists, graphic designers, and writers, we like to provoke discourse. We encourage you to engage and respond to questions that come out of the practice and the making of Spontaneous Interventions."
Here is the breakdown from their website outlining how to participate:
Leagues and Legions (LGNLGN) in conjunction with the Institute for Urban Design and Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good, the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale [announces] City Sessions: Spontaneous Talk, a dialogue about the practice of tactical urbanism and socially active design.
Tactical urbanism uses the city as a site of experimentation, deploying pop-up parks, vacant retail reuse, or unsanctioned street furniture as way to reprogram the urban realm. The practice traditionally takes an activist position in relationship to environmental, political, cultural and economic factors. However, as the practice is increasingly being absorbed into mainstream thinking on cities, it is critical that we look closely at both the underlying assumptions and resulting effects.
We are asking critics, practitioners, academics, community organizers, and the general public to weigh in on one of four questions dealing with issues of tactical urbanism. Each question will tackle a particular theme: community, funding, communication, and working with governmental/institution entities.
The City Session: Spontaneous Talk questions will post online in during the course of the Venice Architecture Biennale, August 29 through November 25.
You can post your comment here: http://www.spontaneousinterventions.org/forum
Join the backchannel discussion on Twitter by following @S_Interventions and hashtags #lgnlgn and #citysessions.