Europe Grand Central at WUK, Vienna

notes from a creative europe project (03)

Working on preparations for the second meeting of our collaboration project. Brushing-up the prototype platform, giving input on the agenda, preparing a slide deck of design provocations and pensées.

A tweet from this morning captures a bit of the design process that I’m in right now with this project, riding the line of divergence somewhere over “synthesis and strategy”.

Here’s what we have:

  • an array of partners, each with a unique project that addresses some kind of border or set of borders within their context
  • the placement of artists-in-residence with some of these partners; the artists are residents of Arabic and Eastern European countries
  • a prototype platform for method exchange; spun using WordPress and some great plugins that include: Adminimize, Advanced Custom Fields PRO, Contact Form 7, Contact Form DB, Custom Post Templates, Custom Post Type UI, Members, Simple History, and Support for Custom Post Templates in ACF.

 

The metaphor for Europe Grand Central is that of a railway station. Adapting that, we’ve made a few definitions:

  • Borders – are our definition of issues. We’re experimenting with the idea that crucial issues can be defined as a border between two things, peoples, and places. We can address and affect change of these issues by objectifying them as borders.
  • Stations – this is how we are defining organizations whether grassroots groups or cultural centers, anyone that is hosting a project that aims to transform or investigate a border
  • Departures – our word for projects, emphasizing the sense of to launch or to propel that comes with the verb meaning of project. A departure is a description of a project from a station that includes the border it will cross, the sequence of events, and the methods used.
  • Traveller – a participant or audience member in a departure from a station.

 

The functions that our platform fulfills needs to be clarified and more focused, but this is the list of functions that reappears in design conversations:

  • An active archive for sharing methods and outcomes … of inclusive projects … of creative research projects … a “how to” archive for creative culture projects.
  • Facilitated story gathering – that a traveller’s story about crossing a border is recorded and contextualized within a station departure.
  • Audience development and driving an agenda.
  • Event promotion.

 

These list of functions don’t sufficently capture the intent and urgency of what we want to do – it is all tool and no task. This has re-oriented my thinking about what it is we aim to demonstrate using the platform. What do we want to visualize in a way that can have meaning, influence, and affect?

  • That methods can and are exchanged between significantly different European contexts.
  • That experiences / stories of crossing borders are connected to the departures / the projects we cultural operators conduct.
  • That documenting the success and failure of a project is equally valuable. That we have the courage to document our failures.
  • That members of TEH actively network and collaborate in a way that’s open to other groups and organizations.
  • That experiences of crossing borders are connectable.

 

WUK, Vienna

These are the thoughts I look forward to unpacking in this room at WUK in Vienna, a cultural center operating within a former locomotive factory. How appropriate!

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