Urban Islands: The Review Day

Last Saturday was that the review afternoon for Urban Islands 2009 – both the culmination and end stage of the two week workshop. Talk about, critique and all the students and instructors, along with a massive amount guests, headed out to see the projects.

The very first studio to present has been Geoff’s and everybody was led to the dog-leg tunnel at which the student’s “tarot” cards were strung up and exhibited. The students each had a brief quantity of time to show their project. The ideas were broad and diverse, and the final peices contained a Cockatoo Island board match fictional games, a brewery that is light and a snow world in Cockatoo Island Space Center.

The floor was opened for debate among guests, instructors and the students, and mostly centered on the economics of those items that had been generated, being that most of these were imagined as items.

Following the dialogue, we proceeded down the tube into the very first of Mette’s studio’s installations. At the dog-leg of the tube the setup ran in 1 corner, flow and a organza fabric seeming to raise. Slightly motorised, it shook and shivered a little, breaking the mild up and disorienting. The purpose was to it be reminiscent of scenic, fog and vaporous solid and enclosing, but in exactly the same time not there at all.

Walking along to the rooms near the massive turbine space and continuing along the tunnel, we stumbled upon the other textile-based setups. Crowds of people gathered around the installations, wandering around and checking them out. In the room was an installment of lace, cut into patterns and strung up with cable to points around the room. As we stood and watched the wires would be pulled, and the arrangement would fall apart, altering, tensing and releasing in which it ripped.

The room included An artificial weather system created in the roof. Bottles released water onto a grid of weights, pulleys and string, dispersing water in a arbitrary fashion, dependant on the changing burden of the bottles, along with other things.

The installments of the final of Mette’s studio was in the room – an array of upholstery ribbon – laced from ground level to the roof of this space. Its base was a piece of curved perspex, resulting in the threads creating beautiful patterns and travel along arcs. This thread’s nature was that it picked up and reflected the light around it, which made for quite an effect.

As a loosely-knit team we ended up to the Islands primary apron where Mark’s Studio’s installations were put up. Each of of the pieces were connected together physically in some manner and invisibly over a distance. You will find concrete blobs placed with cable operating between them in some type of grid that is indistinguishable across the apron. At each one of these point there were tripods set up with fins painted in different patterns coming out of the top.

Later in the day we would climb to a platform above the apron. From this standpoint you could see this the grid of cable made a view wireframe of one up around the island. The end had played its part and curved and twisted the traces, however it was still clear that this was an nearly glamorized (75% scale apparently) representation of a real construction.

There were some bamboo sticks set up with fishing cable running at a pattern between them. As it turned out that the wires mapped out a scale model of the topography of one of the dry-docks of the Island. Along the pieces of string was reflective tape, so that has been visible, however understated. When there was a photo shot with the flash, however, and the pieces light up , even in daylight.

Scattered on a the apron are a few items known as “the draw”. These were apparatus set up on stands that changed the way you saw Sydney and the Island itself when you looked. One added a literary construction on the horizon in North Sydney if you looked through it, and the other actually showed you (by way of mirrors) the perspective perpendicularly to a right, rather than directly ahead in the path you’re searching.

After lunch we made our way into one of those convict cells (that was armed with a projector and display) for the presentations from Mark and Mette’s groups. Following a few hiccups with power cords, adaptors and projectors the guest architects/artists were seated, along with the groups began to present. There was a time of conversation with some thoughts presented, once the groups were introduced.

There was discussion about the difference between the student’s vision for the jobs and how much of that eventually been achieved (given time constraints and other problems). Each one of the groups had goals beyond the last installation, but had run into issues ranging from issues to specialized aspects not working that people hadn’t interacted with the functions as expected. A few of the students mentioned how nice it was to be placing their theories and needing to take care of the adjustments when things didn’t work proved to be a part of the encounter.

Other students expressed their delight at focusing on installations that were full scale instead of smaller scale models (such as they would normally work on). A few of the guests said that they were glad to see students moving beyond working on computer or paper, and using stitching machines, casting concrete and building items.

There was a bit of discussion about how lots of the bits had almost an quality to them. The spaces around the island had such a aesthetic quality which the installations were treated by those seeing them as parts of art – to be looked at from an area. A few of the pupils had expected that a more tactile interaction between people and the bits.

The problem was said of whether there had been consideration left to the installments reacting to people’s existence. As it turned out, one of the groups were planning on getting their setup pulse and proceed as it came connected with individual skin (by utilizing conductive fiber) but did not have time in the two months to perfect it. There was some additional discussion on the importance (both for and against) of installations responding to a human presence.

In connection with Mark’s studio there was. The installments were architectural in although they had been educated and motivated by the website, but were more of demonstration and an interpretation of the island in new ways. They were also a tool to inform, to educate and to begin conversation. There was lots of support with this concept that architecture is much more than buildings.

Urban Islands: Trip to the Island

Yesterday the students, instructors and organisers of Urban Islands led off to Cockatoo Island, also generously offered for me to tag along.

On the ferry trip over, the instructors were huddled about the front part of the rivercat awaiting the very first glimpse of this island, some wondering if the remarks out of the night before on the island not present could have some truth to them. But as we came around a bend – there it was! Cameras came out and fingers pointed as we disembarked and drew closer.

For all those of you unfamiliar with Cockatoo Island, it is a island in Sydney Harbour which has been, at various points of it’s history, a fishing place for Aborigines, also a prison for convicts, reforming facilities for young boys and girls, in addition to a major ship-building facility.
The result has been a mishmash of structures and structures from various eras populating the Isle. You may find out more about the Isle here.

The very first stop was the Store Room of those aged facilities. The students had been giving a job to finish overnight – a version that showed different views of the identical object from different ends of the model (often between a transformation). It turned out that the measurements in the short was given to match and the students started putting their versions.

The students had to offer 30 presentations on their own models, and we worked our way. The caliber of the job was extraordinarily quite high. The concepts being introduced were exceptional, and the craftsmanship that went to the job (especially thinking about the time constraints) was really quite astonishing.

Following the presentations, the teams split off to their Studios to begin performing some initial work.

The groups gathered together again, and then we all were taken to get a tour of the Isle. Hour and half was sufficient to whet the appetite for what, and as it turned out the Island had to offer you. The variety of structures, level of maintenance and age was so wide it had been a nearly surreal experience. Prior to walking up 2 buildings to to a workshop for building ships, one minute you’ll be in stye convict cells. Some of those older buildings remained mostly untouched, although others had been reinforced and modified to suit their brand new and “enhanced” roles.

We had been treated to a mixture of interesting tales and facts by our guide as we all walked around the various locations. The pupils scribbling notes down of fascinating titbits, photographing everything and anything which could prove useful. The excursion over all too early, I had to leave – but the pupils remained for a continuing afternoon of inspiration and work.

Urban Islands: The Symposium

This day a symposium was held to finish the first day of Urban Islands 2009. An area of 60 or so students in an area in UTS combined together alongside a couple of guests to start throwing ideas around about their projects on Cockatoo Island. As Thomas Rivard place it “the intent is to place too much to your heads. After all, too much is always just about right”.

Following a short introduction the pupils we divide into 5 classes (each with a couple of the special guests to seat) and were posed a question get them talking distinct epochs of the Island’s history and then return to the room to facilitate further discussion. Allow me to briefly run over what all the groups had to say.

The Geological

The first group had the job of studying the geological areas of Cockatoo Island, facing the question “If an Island sits in the center of the volcano and no-one sees it, does this exist?

They covered all aspects of reality and existence, themselves questioning “Have we landed on the moon”? The Isle is present it doesn’t. Unless we’re physically on Cockatoo Island then we must rely on evidence to prove its existence.

The truth is in this modern world, we have come to be nearly entirely reliant on technology to show the occurrence of something. We look photos to prove the occurrence of Cockatoo Island, or look at Google maps. But can we anticipate tech?

The Colonial

This group has been looking at the colonial background of Cockatoo Island and also the contrast between the reality of its violence and brutality in comparison to this romanticised, picturesque view of it., Posed the question “Do we need to burst the glorious myths of the past” the chose to change the emphasis from “exploding” into “exposing”.

Different ideas were thrown around, thinking about the history of the island and the fact that dispossession of the property was as significant a component of the history since the colonial use itself. The question has been to expose that, but to let people create their own decisions.

Some possible approaches appeared to be associated with merely aiming to emphasize and existing parts of the island to people, somehow keeping people from impacting on the island themselves while still being able to experience it, and also the possibility of partnering with Native Australian’s to produce possibilities for the Isle.

The Industrial

In taking a look at the Island’s background as a shipyard for warships (jointly productive and destructive) this group was contemplating this question; “From the ontological celebrity death match, that wins? Tactics or tactility?”

Arguments from both sides were heard. The Isle is strategic – its considered, own is pre-planned and considered. Through its layout and actual usage, its whole existence is strategic.

It is tactile. The island gives a sensory overload of shape and texture. The enormous industrial ruins are cathedrals, monuments to business and fill us with an longing for what was once there.

At the conclusion of the day, use and the Island’s inception may have been tactical, but the tactility is the thing that lasts.

The Article Industrial

Taking a look at the postmodern Cockatoo Island – a place where the imagery of the past is turned scenic, this group was seeking to answer the query ” Te Ta or Bladerunner; Who owns our future?”

These are just two competing, nevertheless both distopian, perspectives of the future. Te Ta arranged and envisages a modernist world. The world of Bladerunner is filthy, complicated, a consumerist and technological distopia.

This group came to the conclusion that there are 3 wide ways in which the Island could be worked on. The first is to concentrate on presenting and maintaining the background of the Island. Secondly, there is the option to clear the property and begin afresh, with a vision of building something clean and pure (Ta Te). The next option is to embrace the existing grunge and nature of the site, and start to add layers of complexity (Bladerunner)

The Future (information age)

This group was confronting the query “Provocation or Disambiguation” and their response was a pitch for a new film.

The year is 2013 and also the Isle has once again been made off limits to visitors. A group of Danish Backpackers on a ship from Mexico crash to the Island, stranding them and in the procedure starting a fire that levels everything on the Island. They survive and plant seeds that they are carrying with them.

The Island begins to become overgrown with flora, a new regrowth. Boats start to return to the Isle, but on docking, the flora overtakes them and they are added to the land mass Island. Eventually Cockatoo Island becomes attached to the mainland.

There was a brief discussion on some thoughts that had been brought up so 22, considering the groups with presented. The pupils were encouraged not to take care of the Isle TOO reverentially having thoughts. It was said that the organic rise of the Island had ended, and we should now think in ways that were various. Just like a tree that has died, it is not a living thing, but like wood, is a raw material. It’s time look ahead and to lose the nostalgia.

While the guests grouped talking thoughts raised during the day the pupils all filed out to get back to work. They all head out to the Isle for the very first time to learn what they are working 19, tomorrow.