About 601 Tully
Check out our new website! 601Tully.syr.edu
601 Tully is a center for engaged practice in Syracuse, NY developed by artist and professor Marion Wilson with a rotating collaborative team of 54 students and neighbors and Anda French of French 2Design. It's a site for meaningful exchange between artists, community members, and scholars in the co-production of culture.
601 Tully includes a contemporary art space, a public events space, a bookstore, a teaching garden, and Recess Cafe West.
In 2009, Wilson purchased the condemned two-story home and local drug hub, and throughout five semesters, Wilson's design/build class re-zoned, designed, renovated and now sustains the physical and programmatic aspects of 601 Tully. The collaborative team has consisted of artists, architects, environmentalists, Fowler High School students, Green Train Workforce, neighbors, and the occasional passerby.
601 Tully is made possible by the generous support of the Syracuse University School of Education, The Kauffman Foundation, The Near West Side Initiative, Imagining America, Home HeadQuarters Inc., Say Yes to Education, and National Grid.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Heres a view from under.
Here's a view of the connection detail of the legs to the talbe top.
A picture of Brian testing it out.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
In reference to the Bloomtown project presented by Tony, I was also very disappointed in its attempts to call itself a community engaging piece. The problem with it is that it is merely an “art piece,” it is a visually stimulating/engaging. What is different about the 601 Tully project is that while it aims to become a visual art piece in the community, it also adds a layer of physical engagement. Not only does it propose a community art space upon its completion, it interacts with the community on different levels with the community throughout its construction process (for example: the wall drawing and floor poems). In this way I agree with John’s categorization of 601 Tully as Kwon’s “Invented Community” because 601 Tully is process of community interactions/relationship,s rather than a static art piece that only attempts to visually stimulate its community.
A way in which a project such as the Bloomtown project could be furthered to be not only a visually, but also physically engaging project for the community like 601 Tully. To succeed in this an example proposal that could add that additional layer of engagement can be created creating a set of wire-frame furniture within the “flower plans” that could be used to grow food for the nearby residents. By incorporating an element, food, that is necessary and is actually lacking for the nearby residents, the Bloomtown project will find itself as both the visually and physical engaging project that makes 601 Tully a social art project.
Interestingly while we were in Detroit, we were also able to visit the Heidelberg Project by Tyree Guyton, the artist and inspiration I used for my proposed garden at 601 Tully. The Heidelberg Project is also a good example of a social art project that engages the community at a scale of community involvement that I believe 601 Tully is eventually aiming for in the Near West Side.
Outside the classroom I have a tendency not to engage with projects such as 601 Tully. In a way the reason I signed up for the course was to understand how to become involved using my skill sets, rather than relying on a title (such as those we discussed with text between the architect and artist) to define me to a specific role in such projects. I feel this class has opened up my understanding that there are opportunities to positively engage with the community and they are easier to become a part of than I thought before. I hope to become more community aware through my design processes.
At the smallest scale, the scale of the individual, my contributions support the agenda of 601 Tully, that is, to impart positive change on the social and political landscape of the Near West Side. Geographically, the Near West Side delineates a unique set of challenges and issues which create an interesting debate about what it means to invest in this neighborhood. How do we as an interdisciplinary group identify a problem in this community and decide to engage an audience with public art? Does the audience choose us, or do we choose the audience? As a class, we have discussed the who, what, where, when, why, and how as a catalyst to address particular imperatives in communities, and have even discussed misconception in which the word “community” creates in related discourse. As the who (or at least one among many) I am an outsider to Syracuse, and my involvement with 601 Tully works to fill in a framework that was created long before my involvement. If I am to regard myself as an artist of this “new genre public art”, or at the very least, a collaborator, I think it important to consider the following fundamental truths which Kwon discusses:
“The artist can either find themselves assigned to a certain community group by the sponsoring agency or be given a list of groups to choose from. Thus, contrary to the promotional rhetoric that describes community collaborations as the result of an organic and dialogical relationship between the artist and the community, representing a set of mutual interests at the origin of the collaboration, the overall structure, procedure, and goals of the projects, including their conceptualizations most often precede the engagement with any such community.”
Regarding Sculpture Chicago, Kwon discusses how this initiative was successful in “forging partnerships…between the artists and the local groups.” This new genre public art does only exist through organic relationships, and it should not be regarded as inauthentic if community-based initiatives are a result of said collaboration. It is this mediation that protects the best interests of the community for which the art is attempting to benefit. If it was not for this mediator between artists and local groups, community-based initiatives would be overshadowed by the agenda of the artists, regardless of if positive social and political change was achieved. The political and social framework that defines a particular need in the Near West Side has already been established by the people who live there, as well as the government which recognizes these challenges. 601 Tully presents itself as a platform for which community and artist involvement can perpetually collaborate. The project itself exists in a state of unresolve which allows someone in my position, now and in the future, to bring meaning through their own contributions. Moreover, 601 and the social sculpture class itself address the issue of “critical unsiting” advocated by Kwon. Despite its geographic location in the Near West Side, we have constantly questioned our involvement and practices in the area; is the site what defines the community or the community what defines the site? By haphazard association, the entire community is in danger of being overgeneralized by artistic intervention. This is examined by Kwon in the discussion between Teddy Cruz and Rick Lowes about Project Row Houses. Therefore it is our responsibility to provide an adaptive social infrastructure to address the needs of a community which they define.
As a student of architecture at Syracuse, I regard myself as a liaison between artifacts and catalysts; form and function; process and product. By focusing on these components at multiple scales I can provide critical perspective and offer innovative solutions to influence social improvements. Though it sounds vague, I believe it is the architect’s responsibility to provide these solutions on so many different levels, and unfortunately this can lead us to have an identity crisis, both in how the public views us and how we view ourselves.
this is an interesting piece of architecture/alternative "green" living...
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The issue of difference is critical to any understanding of identity formation, collective or otherwise, and the limitations of community-based art. 601 Tully seeks to understand these differences to better serve the community of the Near West Side, a politically coherent geographic area whose formation and development were actively controlled by politics. As a piece of 'new genre public art' 601 interacts with the audience, or community, about issues directly relevant to their lives. That is why the exact role of the place is left a little undefined, for the community to fill in the blanks later when it can understand its needs for the place better. Kwon argues that art in the public interest can and should affect social/political change. 601 Tully encourages community coalition building in pursuit of social justice while at the same time acting as the agent, a privilege granted to them by higher institutional powers. I got involved with this project as a way for me to get involved in the Syracuse community as a whole. I wanted to understand the new place I was living, and what better way than on a project that actively engages a part of it, and strives to understand the difference (and privileges) between "them" and "us". Success of community based art can be measured in the extent that the self expression of the community affirms the notion of a coherent collective subject and I hope that 601 will continue to be successful and affect the change needed by the community of the Near West Side.
I've learned from my participation in the class that the sum is always greater than the whole. Our class and the larger 601 Tully family partaking in the project are individuals making up the artistic whole. The same thing goes for the Near West Side community; it is made up of individuals each bringing something special and different to the whole. My work with 601 focuses on these individuals, rather than the whole entity, by crafting benches with care and by helping each person have a voice on the wall of drawings, all exclaiming their uniqueness. In my own work, both as an architect and an artist, I always want to be involved in the community, not to be removed from the people my work is for. Architecture is ultimately a service industry and as such I want to always be able to understand the privileges and differences between the industry, myself, and the individuals/whole of the audience.
I believe that the participants of the 601 Tully project are members of what Miwon Kwon describes as a, “sited community”. That is, one in which the members have a, “clearly defined identity in the sense of having established bases, modes of operation, or a shared sense of purpose. (120)” In particular, I feel that my work within 601 Tully is one in which I am a participant of a collective whole who are, together and with a shared sense of purpose, working towards the completion of an amazing piece of community-based art. Furthermore, the collective “artist” of 601 Tully is a group of unique individuals from a variety of backgrounds. I believe this is a successful collaboration for this project because the expertise and knowledge base creates a network that can achieve more than the individual. As Kwon states,“…within the community-based art context, the interaction between an artist and a given community group is not based on a direct, unmediated relationship. Instead it is circumscribed within a more complex network of motivations, expectations, and projections among all involved. (141)”
As an architecture student participating in the realm of the artist, I am finding that working on 601 Tully to be a rewarding learning experience. I have found that the attention is focused on how the occupant will interact with the building on a very small scale and therefore great care is placed in perfecting the details (like embedding small bits of color into a table-top or crafting every seating surface and floorboard by hand). It is a focus that is often overlooked in the grand scheme of architectural design, but one that I have learned is crucial to the overall experience for the occupant.
Here are the first schematic designs:
What resulted was a combination of each scheme. Prior to construction I made a sheet that details the assembly:
And the final product:
Richard Serra Pastiche and Evolution
Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculpture known for his large meandering cor-ten steel sculptures such as A Matter of Time in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Designed to be site specific, each sculpture is constructed to juxtapose human scale. This juxtaposition is compounded by the precarious balance of the immensely heavy pieces of rolled oxidized steel, creating a dialogue of tension and phenomenology, or the inherent sensory properties of building materials.
I propose that for the 30’ x 30’ garden plot on 601 Tully, a sculpture in the style of Richard Serra can be implemented. However, I believe several design elements would have to be considered in order to make it effectively functional and advantageous. First of all, the sculpture can stand as a metaphor for rust-belt cities in America by literally utilizing sheets of oxidized sheets of steel. Perhaps this material can be found locally, therefore adaptively re-using what would otherwise be discarded. Secondly, this sculpture is a detriment to clear sight-lines and may present an issue of safety; therefore I suggest that the steel be modified with a series of punctures to create porosity. I also believe that this modification presents an opportunity to create a rasterized dot design of a symbolic image. Lastly, in a second iteration, I believe the material of the sculpture can be modified for wood construction. This wood sculpture can be constructed in such a way that it can bend and fold to accommodate different spatial configurations. In addition the contoured nature of the wood construction will allow for visual gaps between the pieces, creating a porous structure. Additionally, this wood can be provided from scrap material from local construction sites.
Monday, December 13, 2010
A popular motif of his work is the serpentine pattern. So, I tried to incorporate that into my design as well as his use of materials. Frequently he will use one material but vary its color, size, and/or texture. So I want to limit the material palette in my design.
My design entailed planting trees and having a path around them. The area under the trees I envision being designated for activities like learning, eating, art projects, and any other events. The rest of the area is to be grass, which eventually in the future can evolve and potentially become areas for growing vegetables. Because the area is kind of small I want to keep most of it free and clear so that a larger group can gather in the garden and it won't be too crowded. It also leaves space for temporary installations of art created by the community.
I decided to only plant one type of vegetation: trees. More specifically though, planting five (or three if that's too many for the space) different types of indigenous trees. There are an infinite number of teaching lessons here. Different types of trees that are native to the area could lead into a discussion about what kinds of trees are native to other environments and why, learning the leaves of the trees and their nuts, fruits, and/or flowers. All kinds of different animals make use of different trees: birds, squirrels, bugs, and many more. Another teachable moment could be all about how these different types of fauna, how to identify them, what they eat, their place in the life cycle, and much more.
A lot of ideas from other garden design projects are also really interesting and could easily be amalgamated with the principles of my design.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
“Inflorescence” emerged from a concern with permanence and versatility. In urban communities experiencing revitalization, many initiatives and policy shifts struggle to take root because myriad groups and agendas are operating, and so few entities end up longitudinally invested in the work. Great ideas and positive projects end up collapsing. At 601 Tully, I’d like to see the artist-community collaboration result in a project that initially asserts itself as a distinct creation and eventually becomes exclusively co-opted by the community for authentic use and enjoyment. I’d like to create an open, inviting, relevant community garden that responds to the evolving needs of the surrounding culture.
Words/concepts I prioritized include versatility, permanence, care, investment, open.
The sunflower emerged as an image to synthesize some of the principles that appear in the works of Chin and von Rydingsvard. In a sunflower, the inflorescence—the complete flowerhead of the plant—includes crowded florets arranged in a spiral pattern. Each floret is oriented towards the next by the Golden Angle, which produces a pattern of interconnecting spirals; the number of spirals on the left and right are successi
ve Fibonacci Numbers. The aesthetic of the flowerhead captures the intensity, density, weight and elegance of von Rydingsvard’s sculptures. Most specifically, it speaks to von Rydingsvard’s “Mantle.”
The sunflower is simultaneously derivative of “Revival Field,” as the plant phytoextracts the heavy metal lead from soil. Essentially, “Inflorescence” extends the work of “Revival Field”—adding to the sculpture rather than simply repeating it— if we can accept that the Earth is a solid slab of clay, a single medium. In the case of 601 Tully, the artwork occurs within a community and in a far more immediate public space. While collard greens, broccoli and brussel sprouts would also function to phytoextract lead, these plants seem less whimsical, colorful and dynamic.
While I appreciate that the plot at 601 Tully may contain only traces of lead, I maintain that we must acknowledge the presence of toxins and eliminate them. In suburban communities, any contaminate would be addressed and removed before the land could be converted to a plot for the community and children. Why wouldn’t we take this same initiative in the city of Syracuse? As outsiders, it is our responsibility to examine all of the issues affecting the community space, to avoid the temptation to ignore those that may be problematic or tedious; if the community eventually chooses to plant berries on the land, without having to rely on raised beds, then we should ensure that the community is able to do that. This freedom and flexibility, this ability to grow and plant and eat without limitation, speaks clearly to equity and class and environmental politics. As Ford put it, the sunflower “purifies” the land and is itself a symbol of that process.
Planting sunflowers at the heart of the community garden would lend brightness, color, uniformity and fun. The single crop, clustered in the center of the site, would ensure uniformity and curb appeal, since sunflowers shoot up to bloom at different heights. The plants might function as a porous fence, a “cell wall” inviting positive participation while claiming the plot for the 601 Tully community. The sunflower seeds would be edible and accessible, and the plant is versatile and hearty unlike flowers, which might get trampled by playing children. Opportunities for involvement and educational workshops would be plentiful, since lessons about phytoextraction and tending crops could easily be incorporated into a curriculum. The actual construction would not be difficult. Sunflowers are weeds, so they grow easily and without a great deal of attention.
“Inflorescence” should feel intrinsic to the place, even if it can’t be, and it should evolve with the needs and desires of the community. It would engage dynamically throughout the seasons and with the neighborhood over time. After a predetermined period, during which the sunflowers manage the phytoextraction of lead, the community might elect to plant a new crop or divide the land for shareholders to tend. This kind of domestic decision-making would model Miwon Kwon’s fourth model (as discussed in Chapter 4) and would honor the community’s authority, empowerment and autonomy.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I agree with Miwon Kwon's criticism of contemporary artists' notion of communities. Just as Susan Lacy's piece Full Circle epitomized a “community of mythic unity,” the entire Near West Side Initiative is in danger of making assumptions about the imagined communities it serves. If we assume a loose conglomeration of low-income residents in need of our benevolence we would indeed create a community of “mythic unity” whose response to our efforts would be just as haphazard as the effort itself. If on the other hand we identify a community by its geographical location (the Near West Side) or by a previously established one (the Boys and Girls Club for instance) we run the risk of misunderstanding the original nature of the community. At best we might only impose our own predetermined agenda on the community of choice, thus committing the blunder of what Kwon calls “Site Community.” But 601 Tully is different from both Full Circle and We Got It from Art Chicago because it relies on a long term development of purpose that coincides with the development of a community. In this way 601 falls into Kwon's fourth category, “Invented Communities.” Far from a blunder, I consider this to be 601's strength. In its attempts to help a community, 601 is in fact creating a community. This in turn may be far more helpful to those who need help than an art project would be to a pre-existing community.
I do not believe that one's role should be defined by one's title, but rather one's title should reflect his role. As 601 has not yet fully realized its role in the community it is constructing, I find it fitting that the creators have so much trouble categorizing the project and describing the function of the building. Is it a gallery, cafe, classroom, storefront, or community center? The answer to this question will only be revealed when the community that uses it is fully realized. The important thing is that 601 Tully will crate a support system and infrastructure that allows others to build their own apparatuses, systems, and community. Perhaps it will less a community center and more a site where community is forged. A community lab if you will. Once again, the emphasis is on the system rather than an individual piece. A foot stool, when designed well, can serve any number of functions that the user is capable of devising. A finely carved, ornate, high-backed chair on the other hand, can only be sat in. Let us hope that 601 be more like the stool, and less like a high-backed chair.
The sculpture garden of 601 Tully would include a similar installation on a smaller scale. I small mound of earth would be planted in the center of the garden. In this mound of earth would be planted 30 or so fennel plants, placed in the pattern of the fennel plant itself, whose branches, flowers, buds, and seeds, all occur in a repeating fractal pattern. A certificate of ownership would accompany each plant and the volunteers who planted it would transfer ownership each year to another member of his or her community. This exchange in possession would build a network of responsibility to a shared garden space.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I like to believe that each one of us is unique to the next, has had different life experiences, and views everything with different perspectives, opinions, etc. Therefore each one of us possesses skills to “bring to the table” and if we all voice our opinions, thoughts, and skills, and apply them together, 601 Tully will indeed successfully happen. My interest in this project is tied between a love for art, a study of urban environments and natural environmental issues, and a growing interest in education, specifically focused on and influenced by the city of Syracuse and the public school system.
I believe art is a necessary tool, framework, and activity for maintaining mental health, allowing for communication, problem solving, and seeing in a new light. It sparks creativity in minds and an almost meditative layer of thought. Art can be experienced or “witnessed” by, as well as created by, persons of all ages and cultures, which I find both fascinating and admirable. I’d like to explore the uses and benefits of art in context of 601 Tully. Since being an active part of this project, I have spent time working with kids and facilitating art projects that help them be creative, interactive and explorative while also learning and teaching. Each of us has something to learn from one another, and on some level where we can connect and collaborate, no matter our set “status” or role. Art is a good way to take part in this type of experience, and 601 Tully could be an example of this exchange in action.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I am participating in a collective artistic praxis that re-imagines community and public art through awareness, questioning, a redistribution of power, contact and connection, engagement, efficacy, action, and production. Community is a verb, not a noun associated with land ownership. A community of being, rather than a being of community, demands insight, engagement, commitment. It suggests life and longevity.
With members of 601 Tully, I am collaboratively engaging members of the neighborhood (Boys & Girls Club, Westside Residents Coalition, Café Kubal, among others) in 6-Word-Memoirs. Youth and adults are invited to create their own brief memoirs, drawing from their own experiences and paradigms. The inclusive practice, designed by Smith Magazine, suggests an accessible form that yields rich, varied, inexhaustible artistic response. The structure of six words (no more, no less) offers a manageable space for expression, but the content—the words, the punctuation—are the writer’s. Participants make the form their own. Ultimately, the distance between artist/curator and participant collapses: judgments about expertise, worth, and validity are mostly inapplicable. A reader may be as equally moved by the memoir of an artist as she is by the words of a seven-year-old. Of course, when the memoirs are engraved into the gallery floor at 601 Tully, all memoirs will appear anonymous.
I respect Miwon Kwon’s assertion that in a collective artistic praxis, “coherent representation of [group identity] is always out of grasp,” (154). In our specific writing initiative, we “emphasize the distinctness of individual identities… over the importance of a single collective image,” (119). We strive to resist against reduction, homogenization, or an artist’s vision of unity. We initiate our project through specific inquiry:
As artists, what interpretive and interventionary services can we offer to Syracuse and 601 Tully?
a. How do we “negotiate, coordinate, compromise, research, promote, organize, interview,” (51)?
b. How do we ensure “originality, authenticity, and singularity” (52). How do we make sure the work is about our community (as defined by us)? How do we make sure the city, the block, the location, does not become a commodity?
c. If the artist is reemerging as the progenitor of meaning, even in collaborations, how can we act as authors at 601 Tully?
While I appreciate that Kwon’s model of collective artistic praxis privileges elasticity and flexibility— that it rejects hierarchy and exclusion— I believe there is incredible power in self-naming. A community that is reluctant to identify itself is unfamiliar. It is difficult to interpret, difficult to support, difficult to advocate and assert politically. At 601 Tully, we are witnessing a great deal of interest, investment, participation and excitement from locals who know that we are the new 601 Tully.
I look forward to next semester, when, I’ll continue to create and participate in a community of being with “Writing in the Community,” a course taught by poet Michael Burkard.