Current work. Ukraine

SWAP Residency, Ukraine. British Council

Header image credit: Centre for Urban History Digital Archives. View of Bohdana Khmel’nyts’koho Street looking towards The Jam Factory

http://www.britishcouncil.org.ua/en/programmes/arts/visual-arts/swap/participants-2019

A research/ process based residency working with a new contemporary arts centre, The Jam Factory (opening 2022)

Research and conversations with Jam Factory staff and members of the public highlighted the fact that the Jam Factory is physically, culturally  and psychologically distant from the cultural centre of Lviv. We devised a series of strategies to creatively connect the centre of the city to Pidzamche, the post-industrial area where the Jam Factory is situated.

Going Underground : Actions in the Underpass

The city centre is divided from Pidzamche by a railway line. A neglected underpass that runs underneath the railway line connects the two areas. We hired a small shop unit in the underpass and created ‘Going Underground: Actions in the Underpass’. This project activated and reimagined the underpass as part of a physical and cultural journey. The project created new ways of involving the local community, students and decision makers in conversations about creative regeneration of the area. 

The Underpass

‘Office in the Underpass’

A disused shop unit was rented and a 3 day ‘Office in the Underpass’ set up. Working with the local community, architecture students and passers by, we created an open space for people to drop in, take part in activities and have conversations about how the underpass could be reimagined as a creative space and as a ‘landmark’ destination, generating ideas for creative transformation:

  • Gathering ideas for the disused shop units such as social spaces, co-working spaces, community spaces, workshop spaces…
  • An Underpass ‘renaming competition’. The underpass did not have a name. A name makes it ‘somewhere’
  • Activities to gather ideas for a redesign of the underpass entrances and through corridor using easily implementable ideas such as growing structures and schemes (community garden, vegetable and fruit growing) creative led lighting, temporary public art, repainting…
  • Hosting an architecture student from Lviv Polytechnic
  • Window projections: images from other creative transformations of underpasses around the world, how growing has has been used to transform place, archive footage of the Pidzamche.
  • Children’s storytelling and workshops
  • Hosting the Director of the City Institute for discussions about Creative Regeneration of the Underpass and introducing the Underpass into the city strategy for Pidzamche.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2873064052728297/

Posters in the Underpass

Disused poster sites in the underpass were used as sites for artworks and each day for 3 days a different set of posters was installed. The posters explored new lines of connection. Connection through place and time and between the city and Pidzamche, connection between people and the possibility of new connections through creative change.

Day 1. Maps

We used archival maps from the past century to reorientate the city with the underpass at the centre. We wanted to draw attention to the underpass as the centre-point of the journey from Lviv city centre to the Jam Factory. The maps also highlighted the changes of sovereignty in Lviv during the past century. Location of underpass circled in red.

Day 2. Hands

Ukraine has a history of people joining hands to make human chains hundreds of kilometres long to mark significant events and as a social form of protest.

Day 3. Words

Posters with the words:
CONNECT – ОБ’ЄДНУВАТИ
INVENT – ВИНАХОДИТИ
SHARE – ДІЛИТИСЬ
IMAGINE – УЯВЛЯТИ
CHANGE – ЗМІНЮВАТИ
TOGETHER – РАЗОМ

Short film documenting some of our work in the Underpass by The Jam factory

Work in Progress: Feb 2020

The Underpass to the Jam Factory: Making the connection.

An examination of a single journey in different registers

The underpass leads onto Bohdana Khmel’nyts’koho St and The Jam Factory can be reached after a 15 minute walk. To make the connection from the underpass to the Jam Factory we are making a series of books which will act as walking companions and which will explore and draw attention to various aspects of the journey.

By concentrating on a journey by foot between these two points, we create a tether between them. And as one end of the journey starts at the periphery of the city centre, the other end of the journey, The Jam Factory, becomes tethered to the centre too.  We feel that someone taking three journeys to events at the Jam Factory accompanied by the different books would start to see the journey itself as a deep cultural experience. An experience to be considered, examined and possible challenged by.

The books themselves all use different creative strategies to explore the journey, revealing different aspects of place as they do so. Time and territory are important components in one, inconsequential details reframed and explored in another and the third forces the reader to dream forward into possible futures – a speculation on events that haven’t happened yet.

The walking journey from the underpass to The Jam Factory

1. Desire Line

The first book will explore details of the journey through macro photographs of lines and cracks in the buildings and walls along the walk to the Jam Factory. People will be able to find the lines and through doing so will look closely at details of the journey. Through the use of ‘lines’, we are exploring the idea of creating a new ‘desire line’ from Lviv centre to The Jam Factory.

A note on access to the Jam Factory along this route: There is no wheelchair access through the underpass and the pavements are very uneven so getting from the underpass to the Jam Factory would be difficult for a wheelchair user or someone with mobility issues. The Tram only goes part way to the Jam Factory. the buses are not wheelchair accessable.

2. The Line from Then to Now

The second book will use images from the Centre for Urban History to connect people to the past of Bohdana Khmel’nyts’koho St.

3. The Line from Now to Then

The third book will be exploring possible futures of the journey.

WORK FOR THE JAM FACTORY

The Pidzamche Public Hearth : A mobile social space for a shared future

The Jam Factory is situated in Pidzamche which is a post industrial area with associated social, economic, environmental and infrastructure issues. We talked to the Jam Factory about strategies to ensure that the new centre is both relevant and accessible to the local community. Our contribution to this process is the The Pidzamche Public Hearth.

The Pidzamche Public Hearth is a fire bowl that can be used to create a public space. It is an offering sent through time to the opening of the Jam Factory.

Six bundles of kindling made from wood from the old Jam Factory building have been left at the Jam Factory, together with instructions for the lighting of six fires at important points throughout the first year of operation as a new Contemporary Art Centre. A compass will be cut into fire bowl so that it projects the pattern in fire light on the ground around it to guide the journey of the Jam Factory. The instructions for the six curated conversations facilitate the creation of regular inclusive social events situated around the fire. The fire bowl itself is a transportable size and will be able to be used at community events within Pidzamche.

Above : Work in progress Feb 2020. The fire bowl, draft design for cut out of the bowl and kindling from the Jam Factory (old building before demolition).

The complexities, contradictions and contested histories of Lviv can be put to good use if we concentrate on creating ideas for a shared future that is inclusive and generous. In this way, we can start the process of co-creating a new and inclusive culture in Pidzamche with the Jam Factory facilitating this process.

The hearth is the heart of the spaces we occupy. The hearth fire is a warm and safe space; a place that keeps the darkness and the cold at bay. It is personal and intimate, a place where acts of hospitality happen, a place for telling stories of the past and for dreaming of the future. It is a place of entertainment and magical experiences for children who fall asleep in the warmth as stories and laughter surround them.

It is where history is recounted and improved. It is a place for reconciliation and forgiveness, for truth telling and ownership of past wrongs. It is a place for pacts and politics. The hearth fire has central place in human cultural development from the heating of food to the reinforcing of social bonds and behaviours to dreaming into the future.

It is a democratic space; a place where everyone has a voice. When you invite someone to sit with you around a fire, you are both sharing resources (fuel/food/information) and creating unique social bonds. The shape of the fire is circular, the spread of light allows for anonymity or performance.

The fire is the release of stored sunlight within the darkness. Years of tree growth in the sunshine released quickly enough to produce heat. In nature and in human myth fire destroys and creates. It enables a new future to come into being by consuming the past, keeping us alive and allowing us to explore and share new ideas.

Key elements: Hospitality, care and care giving, bridging and connecting spaces and communities. DIWO (Do It With Others)

Categories: 2020, Community Engagement, Interactive, Ongoing, Participatory, Process, Research, Site Specific, Strategy