community · creativity · play · Social

An Artist Invites the Public to Join in her Process

It’s always a brave choice to let the public inform an artistic process, especially in a public space. But that is what makes art meaningful to others.

  • Jan 25 & Feb 22, 2019
  • Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle WA
  • PACCAR Pavilion
  • 7 PM – 9 PM

Become part of an artist’s creative process during our Art Encounters.

In collaboration with the yǝhaẃ exhibition at King Street Station, the Seattle Art Museum presents an artist residency that will activate the Olympic Sculpture Park throughout the winter and help grow the artistic practice of contemporary Pacific Northwest Native artists. Multi-disciplinary Chugach Alutiiq artist

Christine Babic will take residence to research, workshop, and realize an immersive project exploring the gap between contemporary and traditional Indigenous works. Babic will combine performance and installation to create a site-specific experience with collaborating artists Mary Babic (Chugach Alutiiq) and Alex Britt (Nansemond/White).

Get inspired by learning about meaningful artistic practices and participating in two programs led by Christine Babic.

architecture · community · creativity · design · environment · play

Dalston House: where every visitor becomes Spider-Man – video | Art and design |

A Victorian terrace has popped up in east London that lets you swing from its ledges, run up its walls and generally defy gravity. Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright hangs loose at Dalston House, the novelty installation by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich.

The artist talks about “enjoyable discovery” and playing with spaces that you might not otherwise think of.

I love how it is an interactive piece of art that only exists when people play with it.

more at Dalston House: where every visitor becomes Spider-Man – video | Art and design |

architecture · community · creativity · culture

In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets : NPR

A great example of actively adding art in urban settings in order to create enrichment for its inhabitants:

Urban landscapes have always inspired art, and Brazil is no exception. A new crop of artists like Matos not only is taking inspiration from Sao Paulo‘s streets but also is trying to give something back.

Matos covers trees and street poles with woolen sleeves and small, colorful pompoms. Her works look like whimsical webs of rainbow yarn; the effect is surprising and oddly comforting.

“I want people to have something familiar in the city. Here in Brazil we teach knitting from mother to daughter,” Matos says. “When they see my art, they suddenly feel comfortable walking these cold streets. And you can feel better.”

The newest and the biggest urban art project here is called , and it has an impressive list of corporate sponsors. The idea is to connect graffiti artists with individuals or business owners who have a wall they want covered with original art.

Artist Guilherme Matsumoto says he saw the website and signed up to say he was available to paint a space. Walter Orsati, owner of the Purple House Hostel, responded.

It was that easy, they say.

via In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets : NPR.

behavior · community · creativity · happiness · play · youtube

Take a Seat – Make a Friend? – YouTube

SoulPancake hits the streets to see what happens when two strangers sit in a ball pit… and talk about lifes big questions.

via Take a Seat – Make a Friend? – YouTube.

architecture · community

Landscapes Can Be Open-ended « The Dirt

University of Toronto
University of Toronto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An academic take on creating inviting, communal public spaces:

In Operative Landscapes: Building Communities Through Public Space, Alissa North, Assistant Professor in the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Toronto, argues that the best contemporary landscape designs are concerned with more than just aesthetics. Instead of striving for fixed, static designs, the goals of these landscapes are “operational”: they aim to guide “the transformation of urban environments over time.” By moving away from fixed form, landscapes can be open-ended and non-prescriptive, changing in response to — but also influencing — the development of their communities.

continue reading Landscapes Can Be Open-ended « The Dirt.

creativity · environment · learning · Nature · play

Create your own science station

When I was a kid I loved to collect beach glass, shells, pretty rocks, leaves, feathers, or whatever cool stuff I found. I would take them home and want to display them somewhere to admire and study them further. My mom was gracious enough to give me vases to hold the feathers, and let me keep my rock collection on top of our wooden fence (the brace that goes along the top) for years. Eventually I had quite the collection of feathers or rocks or whatever grouping I had come up with. It was not only educational, it was just fun and inspired a lot of creativity, either by arranging the items in new ways or imagining where they came from.

I think most kids really like to do this kind of treasure hunting, and in fact I don’t think it goes away as grown-ups; we just find reasons to stop collecting. Some of them are legitimate, like the fact that it’s illegal to remove items from state parks and beaches, even teeny tiny shells. Some grown-ups I know also replace this urge of hunting for feathers by going to yard sales or reused building material stores like the ReStore (hey, I’m guilty as charged). BUT, for the places it IS legal, and for a free version of this activity, I would encourage people to not only continue collecting, but to also make a space in your home specifically dedicated to your recent finds. For one thing, it’s fun, but it is also a great way to learn more about your environment, even just your own backyard. You may notice new colors or shapes and be inspired to draw the feathers you find, or explore the geology of a strange rock.

Mary Mullikan at Tree Life Coaching has created a “Found” table, or officially known as a Home Science Station, for her child, but I think this is a great idea for people of all ages:

I made the very easy one-word banner from Handmade Home and within an hour had the whole bite-size Science Station assembled.  A few garage sale items re-purposed (like the little wooden board which is actually an old game piece), some family heirloom pottery, a few sprigs of lavender from our driveway and some mint from our herb garden, some of the rocks Orlis has been bringing indoors, a handful of sand and a postcard procured from our recent trip to the coast, and a flower in a jelly jar, Orlis’ collection basket, and a beloved piece of feedsack fabric to provide a backdrop.  All of it was in the house or just outside, and now it’s here, displayed, for further discovery.

Oh, I love this little table already, and I know, as time passes it will change and change a hundred times as the seasons do and so do our fascinations with the great big world.  I know we’ll easily find many things to pile and gather in the shelf below, and I know the living things will die and be replaced with other tangible items of interest.  For now, it’s simple and easy, this little science station — the perfect place for a toddler to bring in his outdoor treasures for more handling and organizing, and deeper relationship.

I am excited to see this idea get picked up by different people and in different ways, and to see how easy it can be. Whether you have some wall space, a shelf, or even a window sill, it can be very fun and insightful to create a “science station” of your own to inspire you.

Have a science/creativity station already set up in your home? Send me a picture of it, or tell me about it in the comments below.

creativity · design · learning · play · Social

Making stuff at Science Gallery

Picture from Science Gallery’s Makeshop. (Photo credit: David Ramalho)

I used to write about Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, a lot on my now defunct blog The Art of Science. They have now been open for a couple of years, and are huge proponents of hands-on science, art, and learning. This week they’re debuting their new MAKESHOP.

MAKESHOP is a new collaborative workshop space where you can learn everything from cross-stitching to DIY robotics, from origami to 3D printing. It’s for everyone from novices to advanced makers, the only thing you need to get involved is a curious mind and a yearning to make stuff.

We’ll be running these free, drop-in workshops over the weekend to celebrate the opening:

  • LED throwies – LED throwies were developed by the Grafitti Research lab at Eyebeam’s R&D OpenLab. LED throwies are a simple combination of a magnet, LEDs and some sticky tape and allow you to attach coloured lights to any (ferromagnetic) metal surface. They are called throwies because they can be thrown in clusters to attach to high up metal objects and structures for impressive colourful interventions in public space or simply to liven up your fridge door.
  • Paper Toys – The status of the paper toy lies somewhere between an art object, admired for it’s ultra cool design and a quirky DIY aesthetic. Choose from a range of templates in the form of flat 2D pattern that you can fold together and transform into awesome paper toys by some of the worlds best paper toy designers. Alternatively you can colour in your own blank template to give your paper toy a unique look.
  • Extract your DNA – Ever wonder what your made up of? In this simple extraction workshop you will be able to isolate your own DNA strands from your saliva and take home a sample to keep.
  • 8 bit Cross Stitch – Inspired by the simple grid layout of retro computer characters, 8 bit cross stitch combines old world craft with old school aesthetic. You’ll learn the basics of needle work and take home a starter kit that will get you well on your way to making a wonderful wearable.
  • Drawing Robots – Drawing Robots are autonomous drawing robots that people can make without any knowledge of electronics. Participants connect a battery pack to a weighted motor, some paper cups and magic markers and watch as the drawbots begin to draw incredible images by bouncing around on paper.
  • Read about more activities here.

What a great space to explore and play! The Science Gallery is one of the many reasons I’d love to visit Dublin someday. Science Gallery has lots of exhibits rotating in and out throughout the year, and a coffee shop to hang out at after your science-y/artistic adventures.

Have you ever been into the Science Gallery? What was it like? What about the one opening in London (see related articles below)? Share your experience in the comments below.

behavior · environment · health · play

Create Time and Space in your Day to Play

Play Hooky
Play can involve just sitting in a quiet spot and thinking about the world (Photo credit: Pensiero)

I was introduced to Seattle-based, play-based Jungian therapist Mary Alice Long, PhD, who is the creator of Play=Peace . Her latest article focuses on the different ways that people create play in their lives (found via Seriously! The Future Depends on Play.):

There are as many ways to play as there are people. You might take a morning walk and make discoveries with new eyes. Be a traveler in your city and visit a museum, gallery, or park you have never been to before. Put a date on your calendar to attend a local parade or arts festival with friends. People watch at the farmers market. Once you get started the playful ideas are endless.

Read the full blog post here. (Full copyright Mary Alice Long.)

I like how Long is emphasizing the less physical ways to play, and instead focusing on interacting and being aware of one’s environment, which can often be very playful but not quite as active or aggressive as more

traditionally thought of kinds of play. So often people think that play is only about kicking a ball around the field, and while I don’t think Americans get nearly enough exercise, I do feel that these quieter, more introspective types of play can get overlooked.

What’s your favorite kind of “quiet” or more imagination-focused play? I love people-watching, making up stories about people, attending festivals, or just observing nature. Leave your favorite ways in the comments below.


Playful Conference in London October 19

Conway Hall Humanist Centre, home of the South...

Does anybody know more about this event?

Playful 2012: It’s a one-day conference all about games, play, interaction, behaviour and everything that comes with looking at the world through fun eyes.

It’ll be incredible, enlightening, smart and gloriously silly. A bit like a really good game, or Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen.

Playful 2012 will be held on Friday the 19th of October at Conway Hall, London. Doors open at around 9:00am for a 10:00am start — don’t hang about. We’ll be done by 4:30 so that the tango class can get their hips shaking, when we’ll decamp to the pub.

Bring a pad, a pencil, your brain and a mug. Leave the rest behind.

If I had money and time I’d go just for the sheer awesomeness/curiosity factor. It’s sponsored by tech company Mudlark, but it looks like they’re pulling from pretty diverse areas of study/work.

Know anything more about it? Leave a comment below.

anthropology · behavior · community · environment · happiness · Nature · psychology · technology

Mappiness: Mapping Happiness

A shot of the app.

From the blog How Do you Landscape; a group from the UK has created an app that can be used to measure our happiness based on our surroundings, and using maps to look at the data:

“People feel better outside than inside”. “People feel better in the park/woods/nature than in the city”. These are some of the conclusions from a project with the telling title ‘Mappiness’ Good news for landscape and Landscape Architecture on first sight. But are these only one-liners or firmly based scientific statements? Well, that depends on the quality of the empirical evidence of course. Most experience sample methods (ESM) have a hard time getting a representative group (in the end almost only colleagues) that has to struggle trough tedious interview forms (“it will take only twenty minutes”) to step-by-step end up with modest results. How about a sample group of 47.331 people (and growing by the day) who willingly support their data three times a day to the researchers that by now collected over three million forms in a few months? I stumbled upon these remarkable Experience research feats in a TedxBrighton 2011. In this “Twenty minutes lectureGeorge MacKerron explains why and how he and Susana Mourato (both from the Department of Geography & Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science) created ‘mappiness’. They want to better understand how people’s feelings are affected by features of their current environment. Things like air pollution, noise, and green spaces influence your well being is their hypothesis.

This is how it works. They developed an app that can be downloaded for free. It must be one of the most irritating apps around on the web because it rings you (with your approval, you can influence the settings) three times a day to ask you three simple questions.

When put through a big regression model they can gauge the happiness as the function of habitat type, activity, companionship, weather conditions (there is of course a link between meteorological data and the GPS data), daylight conditions, location type (in, out, home, work, etc), ambient noise level, time of the day, response speed, and individual ‘fixed-effects’ (that come out of your personal Mappiness-history). Factors can be plotted out against each other.

How awesome is that? What a neat piece of technology to measure our surroundings and how they influence us!