Jessica Shaefer of Sites Uns_en collaborated with senseofplace LAB as a guest curator for Architecture as Pedestal. The artists are John Kamp and Maggie Preston. The Bureau of Linguistical Reality, a public participatory artwork by Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott was also included. These works were up very temporarily outside the senseofplace LAB studio.
Vacant Lands 1: Project Description by John Kamp
Vacant Lands projects seek to examine, study, and ultimately display the vast ecological diversity growing and living within the vacant lots and neglected spaces of contemporary cities. In this installation we hope to draw visitors’ eyes to what is normally considered throwaway space. Above the site floats a series of pathways inspired by decaying and abandoned docks found throughout the Bay Area. Yet whereas docks rest above water, these pathways float over sandy soil in which self-sown grasses and perennials are attempting to secure a foothold. The pathways’ intentional forms and shapes frame the plant life, letting it shine, and ideally giving the space new legitimacy and value. Imagine walking across the pathways. What would you see? Where would you look? If you came back in a year and they were still there, the plant life you would see would be different, bigger perhaps, and more diverse, always changing and growing and part of the ever-present process of plant succession waiting to happen anywhere it is allowed to.
John Kamp is a landscape and urban designer who has run his design practice, Prairieform, since 2008. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning and design from UCLA, and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University. He grew up in Minnesota but has lived in Los Angeles, France, Mexico, and has spent considerable time in Sweden. Now based in Oakland, he works primarily to create new approaches to landscape and city creation that minimize resource inputs but that maximize aesthetics and habitat for both humans and wildlife. He began Vacant Lands as a citizen science project in 2014 and has since led explorations of vacant lots and the flora and fauna that call them home. For more information, you may visit www.prairieform.com and/or www.prairieform.com/vacantlands
Maggie Preston is a native Northern Californian who received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from the California College of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited both locally and nationally, with a solo exhibition at SF Camerawork and many group and 2 person exhibitions including at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, the David Brower Center and the Houston Center for Photography. In 2012 Preston was awarded an artist residency with an accompanying exhibition at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco. She lives and works in the Bay Area, and has taught at a range of institutions & organizations including California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute. Most recently she has shown at 2nd floor projects, Berkeley Art Center and Minnesota Street Projects.
The Bureau of Linguistical Reality is a public participatory artwork by Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott recognizing a collective loss for words to describe the emotions and experiences our species is having around climate change and other Anthropogenic events. Asking the questions of who has the agency to define the world around us— and the words we use to talk about it, The Bureau creates a platform for people to identify feelings and experiences they do not have the language to describe and together coin neologisms to better discuss these.
The Bureau will set up office as part of Architecture as Pedestal and Sense of PlaceLAB on Sunday to engage visitors and participants to identify the emotions, experience, or phenomena around contemporary environmental change for which their language fails to encapsulate, and then together create new words as a way to talk with each other about these experiences.
senseofplace LAB also included a site-responsive piece, which is a part of the series ‘Markings’.
The event included self-guided tours using senseofplace LAB art kerchiefs. The psychogeographic art kerchief was made from smell maps created in collaboration with Sheraz Khan from Smell Lab, based in Berlin.