If you have been reading international news about the protests that started in Istanbul and have spread across Turkey, you may be under the false impression that this is an ideological battle between a secular piece of society and an Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sparked by an insignificant event, the occupation of a city park. But the role of space in these outbreaks cannot be underestimated. As part of a project that wouldpedestrianize Taksim, Istanbul’s main square, the adjacent Gezi Park was to be demolished to build an Ottoman-via-Las Vegas Mall. The protest was an effort to save a park by occupying that very park; it was not a symbolic or ideological demonstration like the Occupy Wall Street movements, but a primal struggle between human bodies and bulldozers, that made the political discourse all the more potent.
Taksim is also the first place where protests have historically occurred; the planned pedestrianization of the square would have cut off the avenues where protesters could enter, effectively a vasectomy of its power as a commons. In Erdoğan’s own absurdly ironic words, “We want to stop traffic in Taksim, give the square to the people, pedestrians so that everyone can walk there freely.” This space of dissent, the last vestige of democracy reserved for moments in time when politicians have refused to listen to their populous, was itself under threat.
(via Urban Heroes of Istanbul: It’s About Public Space)
Ahhh, yes, I’ve been meaning to read this one!
The New Yorker, 4 January 1969
(via Technically Philly)
Crowdfunding isn’t just for money: help build the Hidden City Festival from the ground up by donating your time, chairs, water coolers and more. (Cash is welcome, too, of course.)
The month-long celebration of Philadelphia’s history, public spaces and local art is using the notion of crowdfunding to get people involved.
See how you can help here.
The festival goes from May 23 – June 30. You can get tickets here.
To be clear, it’s not exactly a novel concept to solicit help from event goers, but there’s something about using the imagery of crowdfunding (that bar that shows how much money has been raised) that makes it easy to understand how much help is needed and how you can contribute. It practically invites you to help out.
Flying Kite media interviewed me about the upcoming Hidden City Festival I curated.
If you’re bragging about Philadelphia and its unique charms, be sure to add the upcoming Hidden City Festival to the list. This is something nowhere else has — it’s ours and it’s amazing.
The first iteration took place in 2009, when founder Thaddeus Squire and his team opened up some of the city’s inaccessible architectural gems to the public. They transformed those abandoned and underused spaces into canvases for art installations and performances. Over 10,000 people showed up to explore the sites, which included the Metropolitan Opera House, the Royal Theater, Shiloh Baptist Church and Disston Saw Works.
Round two for the festival has been years in the making. This time they’re doing things a little differently, focusing more on interactivity and community. The five-week-long extravaganza — kicking off May 23 — will feature nine sites, with opportunities to meet the artists, docent tours, walks, concerts and discussions. A variety of passes (daily, weekend, festival-long) are available; Thursdays are free.
Dave Kyu also received an Asian Arts Initiative Social Practice Lab grant (along with the project HOT TEA that I’m doing with 3 collaborators). Check out his project Sky Write as he attempts to create a message to write in the sky above Chinatown North/Callowhill/Eraserhood/The Loft District in Philly.
What message would you write in our neighborhood sky? Here’s your chance to have a say, by being a part of the Write Sky project by Dave Kyu.
Applications due by May 31, via email to email@example.com or via mail to:
WRITE SKY PROJECT
C/O Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Phila, PA 19107
(via Asian Arts Initiative)
I’m collaborating with 3 other artists (my partner Kathryn Sclavi, Laura Deutch and Katya Gorker) on a mobile tea cart in the Chinatown North/Callowhill neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’ll serve as a site for art actions, conversations, DJ concerts, field recordings, a bookmobile, and more. Check it out.
We’re rolling out HOT TEA today from 3:30-5! Join us and special guests Ginkgo and Melinda Ocelot! near 11th and Wood, we’ll be roving so if you don’t see us, just trek around there nearby and listen for us. Free delicious tea and free sunshine.
From my punkarcade tumblr I manage with Sarah Brin, I recently wrote about Twine (which lets you make text adventures like Choose Your Own Adventure books) and how easy and compelling they are, and the rise of a huge community of new DIY gamemakers.
What the hell is Twine? You may have seen me mention it in past posts. Twine is easy-to-use software that lets you make choose-your-own-adventure style stories quickly, easily, and able to be uploaded anywhere online. There’s a huge community of users, all kinds of experimental games, and you can sit down and write your first game in a few minutes without any previous experience.
Twine’s become recently popular as it’s been championed (and has a how-to guide) by Anna Anthropy, author of Rise of the videogame zinesters that’s a manifesto and mini-manual for DIY videogame creation. Anna loves that all kinds of people, including and especially those brand new to games and many who have not been part of the videogame industry, are now able to create games from their own perspective. There’s a gallery of Twine games here, created in Twine! Great article on Vice’s Motherboard about Twine here. One of the things I find interesting is that this turns videogames back into the early lineage of Zork and other super-early videogames. And reminds us that games are about making choices, and giving your players choices to make. It’s pretty amazing that in an era of intense graphics capabilities that something as compelling as a great story can be so transformational.
We’ll try to profile some great games here. Send us ones you’ve made in twine, or your favorites.-LT