Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sweden visit: a workshop on Urban Tools

I am in Sweden this week for a design workshop series titled Urban Tools at The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Kungliga Konsthogskolan. In the presentation Artistic Strategies with the As Found, I shared my use of repurposed materials and collaborative art experiments in both my fine art and in my teaching. It is very exciting to be here and meet Mr. Arvind Gupta who is leading the workshops. He has a wonderful site called Toys from Trash which I have referred to in various projects. My father, a commercial toy designer who grew up on Maui making toys from trash, also presented. Michael Dudley, a professor at the Royal Institute of Art, also gave a very interesting presentation, Papanek's Imperative, on Victor Papanek. The graduate students in this program have a week to create small scale solutions using found materials. Add VideoHere is an excerpt from the course description:
This workshop has a two fold aim - to explore needs in the urban environment that could be enabled through a "middle scale" of tools or toys, while simultaneously investigating the "left-overs" in society that could be reused, re-evaluated or filled with new purposes. We will explore these possibilities by building of full-scale prototypes of models during the workshop week.

Explore and identify the present and new needs or functions in the Indian or Swedish urban context and propose small-scale urban solutions for them. Use only found materials to construct the full scale models of your ideas. Work in groups of two to four people.

Student work above. A little figure inflates when you place items in the recycling can.

It has been a very inspiring and educational visit for me so far. The other guest speakers have been fabulous. Mr. Gupta had such an engaging participatory presentation as did my dad and yesterday Alexander Kulanski's lecture, The Urban Playground, introduced us to his thought provoking work using site specific materials. He is work is in very public spaces, engages the public in innovative ways that invites us to reflect in different ways upon urban spaces.

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