Recipes for Uncontrol
In the Recipes for unControl project, a group of young adults unveiled forms of control they encounter in public space and sought for alternatives on how to deal with these borders in a playful way.
TRADERS ; Office for Public Play ; HDK, Academy for Design and Crafts ; MA Child Culture Design HDK ; Kulturförvaltningen Göteborg ; Göteborgs Konsthall ; ISGR International School of the Gothenburg Region
Description of project
The Recipes for unControl project is a project set-up by Office for Public Play*1 to designerly inquire together with a fixed group of young adults how they perceive borders and other forms of control in today’s public space. This projects consisted of a series of workshop in which a group of young adults, aged 16, discussed and mapped their hinders and frustrations in/with their local public space. Their mappings revealed emotions, uses and desires that possibly oppose those of other publics and other groups. Rather than ending up in a lamentation, these insights were developed into playful mediations that allow differences and explore ways on how to deal with these frictions in a different way. These playful mediations were shaped by designing and producing a series of ambiguous instructions, in the form of recipes. The collection of recipes aimed to offer citizens new ways to explore public space. The project was done in collaboration with Göteborgs Konsthall, as part of the Tryckverkstaden project. Tryckverkstaden transformed Göteborgs Konsthall for two months into a giant printing workshop. Besides different tools, techniques and machines for printing, the spaces of the art institution also hosted an editorial room, library, exhibition space and archive. With this project Göteborgs Konsthall did not only explore its institutional boundaries and role - as a place for showing exclusive art work into a place for being together (social) by making together - it also formed the based for an alternative printing playground for many children, young adults and adults. The accessibility of the project invited new publics into the art institute, where visitors shared experience, skills and knowledge with other visitors hence uniting them into a ‘community/collective of practice’ (Wenger 1998).The set-up of the art institute as active makers space, challenged the pupils to express themselves by using new techniques and skills they did not master before. This experimental approach disrupted and questioned their negative connotations (and aversion) of failure. The printing experiments also empowered them as makers, enabling them to participate in public discourse and express their opinions through the making of printed artefacts. The pupils learned to develop and express their ideas on a particular difficult issue (borders and friction between different publics in public space) by using an artistic language. Recipes for Uncontrol also explored how using other forms of expression - besides those typically used in visual arts/design (text and image) - may help to develop a new language, their language (a language developed by the group), allowing multiple and ambiguous interpretations. These kinaesthetic codes expressed in gestures, postures and other forms of body language revealed different kind of meanings than those expressed by their spoken and written languages. Some pupils reported that the project, its new environment, new encounters and difficult subject, brought a lot of insecurity which made them feel partly uncomfortable but all in all it also empowered them to express opinions they normally keep for themselves, or do not reflect upon/engage with in a conscious way. The process and outcomes that were generated during the different sessions were finally presented in an exhibition in Konsthall. This going public enabled the young adults to communicate and share their concerns and ideas with a larger audience. The small scale collaboration also enabled new connections, exchange and collaborations between the different partners of the project: a high school (ISGR), a design academy (HDK), the city of Gothenburg (Konsthall/Kulturförvaltningen) and European network of research institutes (Office for Public Play/TRADERS); thus between the city, education and research. *1 Office for Public Play wants to involve children and young adults in rethinking the production and development of public space. Public space is problematized as a collection of different places where social life is governed and performed by explicit and implicit rules/norms/conventions, which became entrenched over time. However, seeing the city as a dynamic process demands a constant rethinking and adjusting of these conventions and this in relation to current and future contexts. Through playful participatory design, the Office for Public Play - together with children and young adults - wants to questions/disturb/rethink existing conventions as well as explore and initiate alternative ideas.
Description of work included
Map of borders and forms of control in public space, A0 print (1). Stories of borders and forms of control in public space, A0 print (2). Recipes for UnControl, A0 print (3). (1) The map enumerates and categorizes what borders and other forms of control young adults encounter in today’s public space. (2) The collection of stories, assembled and presented in a collective print, reveal subjective insights on the data presented on the map. (3) In this second collective print, the young adults propose recipes that generate new perspectives on how to deal with the previous named forms of control in public space. Rather than seeing control as borders that hinders them, the recipes offer ludic action and counter perspectives.
Bodies of Control, A5 booklet (4). Gestures of Control and UnControl, A5 booklet (5). Gestures of UnControl, A5 booklet (6). How do we feel when we encounter borders, controlling us in public space? It is not always easy to talk about feelings and emotions. Sometimes our body reacts in a direct way and expresses more easily what we can't say with words. The three publications collect expressions made with the body. In order to communicate about specific forms of control in a more direct way, the young adults developed a “gesture language” in which the hand plays an important role in warning for control or suggesting of how to counter this control, to uncontrol.
Recipes for UnControl, towards a pocket book, A4 loose sheets (7). Starting from the borders that young adults encounter in public space, presented in the map (1) and the stories (2), we invited the visitors of the exhibition to make their own recipes. By using a typewriter or other techniques offered in Tryckverkstaden, an additional collection of recipes was made by the public for a final Recipes for UnControl pocket book.
Type of work
A participatory design project, consisting of a series of workshops that generated various group discussions, a new language, and a series of printed artefacts, collective produced by a fixed group of young adults.
Series of workshops: Recipes for Uncontrol, ISGR and Göteborgs Konsthall SE, November and December 2015
Exhibition: Recipes for Uncontrol, Göteborgs Konsthall SE, 18 December 2015 till 10 January 2016
Presentation on conference: Kunskap Göteborg, Göteborgs Stadsmuseum SE, 13 April 2016
Presentation on conference: Nordic Urban Laboratory 2016, Borås and Gothenburg SE, 8 April 2016
Link to web site
Young adults: Tanay Dashottar, Ameya Deshpande, Leonora Ernst, Kaoru Fesenko, James Harte, Tova Persson, Stella Postleb, Kairi Pullerits, Paul Schindler, Oscar Teiffel, and Max Zayashnikov.
print making workshops