This past month I had the privilege of working with Breakhouse Inc., a local design firm here in Halifax, NS, on a project to re-imagine the highway infrastructure known as the Cogswell Interchange. The Cogswell Interchange was built in the late sixties in an effort to address urban renewal in the city. It was first phase of a plan to eventually construct a (most likely godawful) expressway along the waterfront that would have led to the demolition of several historic buildings in the process. The folks of Halifax at the time rallied against this expressway, fearing the loss of the lovely historic properties as they’re now known, and so the expressway was never constructed, the buildings were kept but the interchange remained.
I live very close to the Cogswell Interchange actually, and when I first moved to Halifax, it stood smack in between where I lived and my university. I was so convinced I couldn’t walk or ride my bike there (isn’t it illegal to walk along the side of the highway?), that I ended up cycling up and down Duke St. for the first month or so, which like all streets downtown, is incredibly steep. Getting to school was great but getting back home, well… it sucked. It wasn’t until I walked home with a friend who lived close by that I learned despite the Interchange looking completely pedestrian and cyclist unfriendly, folks do brave the “road to nowhere” on foot and bicycle.
The Cogswell Shake Up was an event organized to bring several organizations, firms and individuals together to dream up/ brainstorm/ re imagine better uses of the land. Nothing to be set in stone, the idea behind Shake-Up was to see what the public wanted. The best part was that presentations were not allowed to be given in powerpoint (something for which the organizers were exempt of for some reason…?) so folks really had to put some creative energies into their proposals.
The good people at Breakhouse came together and made a long list of everything from the practical (green spaces) to the fantastical (ferris wheels and zip-lines!). Pairing the list down only slightly, partner and creative director (and also cousin-extraordinaire) Peter Wünsch contacted myself and local artist/architect Emma Fitzgerald to take these ideas and turn them into something fun and interactive. Their aim was to take the list of ideas, have Emma illustrate them into 5 different frames, then have me construct a kind of 3 dimensional viewer using separated frames with bellows, similar to something Peter had seen in one of his kids’ children’s books.
Here is a visual aid as this is likely confusing to just explain in print:
This is what it looks like when you pick it up…
And here it is from the top:
Then as you look in the front peephole, move your eyes around and focus on different parts of the imaginarium…
We initially planned to have enough of these tiny imaginariums for everyone to take home with them but there were close to 250 people in attendance so we did our best..With the help Peter and my boyfriend, Naryn, I managed to squeeze out 30 (haha) which doesn’t seem like much, but geesh! these things take a bit of time… For having about a week to design, illustrate, tweak and construct the project, I’d say we did pretty darn good myself.
The construction was really similar to making the little back pockets in the back of my books. They were actually fairly quick to construct, once all the pieces were cut and scored (this perhaps took the longest) and the bellows had to be improvised a bit… The lengths of paper I had weren’t long enough to accomodate the whole so I had to glue extra bellows on to have the proper length. (actually that probably took a while as well…)
A bit of my workspace covered in multi-colour bellows:
What a mess…
(this is actually it’s normal state, let’s be honest)
The Shake Up itself was pretty interesting. There were a ton of people in a pretty small exhibition space so it was a bit hard to take it all in, but it was great to see what different groups of people dreamt up.
Here’s a shot of the Breakhouse set up with Emma. Pardon the crappy picture quality! Took these with my phone…
I also made two really big imaginariums that had wooden paint sticks attached so you could pick up and stretch it far away from you:
I love this image of the 3 ladies scoping out the imaginariums…!
My favourite part of this project was doing something pretty book-arts related using no books. And by that I just mean that its awesome to see/ think about/dream up / scheme new ways to explore my craft and what I do especially in the context of collaboration.
••∆•• new and exciting custom projects ••∆••
••∆•• the NSDCC Summer Craft fair ••∆••
••∆•• more music I promise… been super slacking…••∆••
••∆•• new Mule Mother Retail Spots!••∆••