Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cultural Engineering: Wayfinding

Wayfinding is a term that is used to designate various architectural features or design elements within a building or a built environment that help people to navigate their way through a space. Such items, including signs that lead you to the washrooms or to an information kiosk or map, are especially important in large complicated environments like the Arts Court.  In the second issue of the Cultural Engineering project, Rachel Kalpana James humorously invoked through a series of guided meditations the labyrinthine nature of the Arts Court building and the myriad organizations it houses. The redevelopment will give everyone involved another crack at designing a wayfinding system.

Meredith Snider, Hard To Let Go: I Put My Blindfold Back On, 2017, digital video.

In their own way, the three videos in the eighth issue of the Cultural Engineering project offer signposts to the redevelopment of Arts Court. Meredith Snider’s video, “Hard to let go: I put my blindfold back on,” documents a performance by Lily Koltun that functions metaphorically as a guided tour of the Arts Court in the midst of its renovation.  Tim Smith’s video “SAW Video January 2017” provides a portrait of the physical space of SAW Video contemporaneous with the date in its title. In a different vein, guest artist Awar Obab’s video is an important reminder that with success artists can lose sight of their original intentions and ultimately lose their way. It also serves as a caveat that arts organizations can lose their way too, as they grow into institutions and become less flexible and less responsive to the immediate needs of their communities. Link to the eighth issue here.