How can we change the city? Make it fairer? More open? Share more? Young Arnolfini will be spending the next few months asking these questions throughout Bristol, building a project that will take place both inside and outside of the gallery.
Field trip to Skenfrith, a small village in south-east Wales close to the border between Wales and England. Exploring Skenfrith castle we found the River Monnow running past, a tree inside the castle compound, walls with jagged teeth, bits they’d tried to restore. We met here because it’s the middle point, a meeting point. I have a quote from Roni Horn written down in my book which says ‘when you have only one, you have only one, when you have two you have the space between, plus you’ve got the difference, and the difference is where everything opens up’. We met in that middle space.
“And then we pulled the words apart” is an exhibition we will be putting together in Gallery 1 at the Arnolfini from the 2nd till the 5th of July. As part of it we are putting together an allotment/embassy and here is some of the research to give you a behind the scenes look into what we have planned.
Research on seeds that were used for the Ballast Seed Garden project in Bristol
We want to explore what we share and how we come together as a group, be that by studying language, going on journeys, telling stories or learning new skills. The gallery space will become a school, an allotment or even a country as we test out the boundaries of our ideas and interests.
A Poem (written in our workshop with Laura Reeves) by Rosie McLay
I’m Co-curating an exhibition at The Architecture Centre aiming to get young people involved with architecture. This is hard, because to lots of young people, the world of architecture seems completely alien. Even to me, it conjures up images of middle class white men in their 40’s discussing buildings in an office. It feels like it’s a world that you can only unlock after 7 years of training, and it’s only then that you can begin to grasp what it’s about. So let’s find out what architecture is.
I started by googling it and came up with this definition:
“the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.”
Okay. That’s true. Architecture IS the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings, but it’s also so much more than that.
It’s about places. It’s about the spaces in between the buildings. It’s about the communities and interactions that take place in them. Architecture is as much about the buildings as it is the people inside.
Architecture plays a huge part in our lives and in ways that we don’t even realise. Walking down a street seems like a completely simple moment in our day, but we don’t realise that this street has been designed to be like that. Those lamp posts have been placed exactly where they are. Those trees were planted exactly there. It’s all been designed to look the way it does. It is the reason why small music venues feel intimate and personal, whilst massive arenas feel impressive and inspiring. Each of those was designed to evoke those feelings.
This is why architecture – in my opinion – is the most important art form there is.
But why should we care? I mean – sure, these spaces were designed like that and to make us feel certain ways, but why does it matter?
At the end of the day, we – as young people – can live our lives in a city content with the architecture around us, letting other people decide what it is that we want.
Except we don’t have to. Okay – to design a building you might need a seven year degree or something like that, but you don’t need a degree to have your say.
Throughout my experience with Shape My City, where I got to work with experts and professionals from the world of architecture; the one thing that they told me is to just “go for it” and to do whatever it is I want to do, and those are words to live by.
We have spent far too long letting the middle class white men decide what it is that young people want from a city. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to young people, and I’ve realised that we do have opinions about architecture – we just don’t realise that they’re opinions about architecture.
Young people have a voice and opinion about this. I want to challenge you. What do you want from a city?What do you like or not like about Bristol?
Why should you care? Because you have an opinion about it, even if you don’t think you do!
To share your thoughts, visit the Shape My City blog or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch.