Tuesday, May 5, 2009

reflections on benchless

i think of benchless as sketches for my thesis...i'm trying to do a few things (badly)... one is to draw a crowd to my site so that i get some more robust data on how people interact with the specific architectural elements of these buildings. i've succeeded in recording hourly since may 1 - i hooked up a laptop and a video camera through evocam, a mac-based video recording software. but, i haven't succeeded in drawing a crowd, yet, so the recordings are of mostly isolated interactions between a few individuals and a limited number of architectural elements. i'm also testing the ownership of this space in a grassroots sense...who participates, what is acceptable on the site, what is removed, by whom and for what purpose. what are the rules governing this space in this community? what does it take to change those rules? i'm intrigued by the responses so far...mostly chalk drawings using chalk i leave on the site. (the chalk is removed daily...i haven't figured out by whom, yet) some of these drawings are doodles...lines, personal marks...and some are messages - "flowers were watered may 3", "your move"...and some are plays on space - like the bird drawn on the shadows of the tree branches. the flowers and strawberries i planted have not been removed or damaged...but the watering can is removed every couple of days, as is the chalk. the red box i rescued from the garbage pile was removed quickest of all, along with the solar powered garden lights i put in last night. the box was in a new garbage pile. the lights were nowhere to be found. does someone have a small stash of chalk, watering cans, and solar powered garden lights? i imagine that they are lined up in someone's back garden...inventoried, watiting for their newly purchased compatriots, which will be left on site tonight at midnight, to be picked up sometime tomorrow morning. part of me wants to carry 30 buckets of water and leave them all on site. fill the garden with dozens of solar powered lights...slowly blinking in disharmony. part of me wants the city to track me down and fine me...for littering? for now i will continue to draw hesitant lines...light lines...layering and layering until the picture emerges


Lisa Carmen said...

It's a really interesting approach Sarah. I sat there and had lunch the other day (and today left some presents). In it's own quiet ways, it's an interesting place.

I enjoy your method and your musings. Keep it up!

s neault said...

thanks lisa! what did you leave?

agata said...

Hey Sarah - I came across this quote today and thought you'd like it.

It's from Joan Ockman's essay entitled Ornament and Monument and is actually a quote by Siegried Kracauer - "The value of cities is determined by the number of places in them that are devoted to improvisation"

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