Friday Feature: HOTTEA

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For this week’s Friday Feature, I wanted to share the work of Minneapolis artist Eric Rieger (HOTTEA). I came across Eric’s work a few weeks ago and it continues to inspire me. Eric uses yarn and other simple materials to create non-destructive street art installations.

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What really delights me about Eric’s work is how simple modifications to common built spaces can create a completely different experience.  In pieces like Ritual and Optimism, everyday public spaces (old tennis courts, connector walkways) become visible, colourful, and playful.  It’s a good reminder that small, ephemeral interventions can have a big impact.

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In contrast to a lot of street art, Eric’s installations are sculptural and transform how people move through and interact with space. I rarely consider the three dimensional and sculptural opportunities of public space interventions. His work has inspired me to consider so many new possibilities for neglected spaces as I walk around.

Check out more of Eric’s work (including his lovely indoor pieces) on Flickr and in these articles showcasing his installations.

Have a great weekend!

Laura

**All photos courtesy of HOT TEA

Friday Feature: HOTTEA

Friday Feature: Love letter to your city

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Today’s Friday Feature is a great public art project being launched by Spacing magazine. The project invites citizens in cities across Canada to share their feelings about their city. People can tweet their thoughts to @DearCityCanada with the messages to be displayed on digital billboards in select cities …. and Regina is one of those cities! Messages from all cities will also be displayed on screens in malls across the country.

From Spacing:

Do you love your city? Or perhaps your feelings more complex? If you can fit it in 140 characters, we want to share it with the rest of Canada on a billboard as part of a new public art project. Your voice matters. Join other urbanists in a public dialogue about the issues affecting our daily lives in the cities we inhabit.

I think it’s a fun idea that allows people to share ideas and see what people in other cities are saying. What things are important to people Halifax, Montreal, Edmonton, and Hamilton? What things do we all have in common? What is unique about each place?

So Regina – what do you think? What do we love about our city? What do we want to love about our city? The deadline for tweets is June 1, 2013.

Have a great weekend!

Photo of back alley downtown by Aaron Hase

Friday Feature: Love letter to your city

Friday Feature: 21 Balancoires

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This week on my way home on the bus, I passed through the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal – a district featuring a number of cultural institutions and located near to the Université du Québec à Montréal. As the bus stopped, I was delighted to see (and hear) one of my favourite playful public installations back in the city for the spring!

21 Balancoires is a very fun installation by the group Daily tous les jours (we covered another one of their projects as a Friday Feature a few years ago) – it’s part street furniture and part game. The project consists of 21 swings that make music while you swing. Whimsical and lovely? Yes! What’s better? The project is meant to encourage participants to cooperate with one another. If you cooperate and communicate with your fellow swingers, new melodies emerge. In this great interview, Mouna Andraos (one of the artists) says, “To make music, you need more than one person. And to make that music evolve, you have to communicate with the other person, in one way or another!” I highly suggest reading the interview to get more info on the artists and their collaboration with a professor of animal behaviour for the project.

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The design of the swings is bright and colourful and at night, the lights on the bottom of the seats create fun effects as people swing. The project has been installed in Montreal for a few summers and I can’t wait to make the treck down there (maybe this weekend) to play again!

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I’d love to see a project like this installed (even temporarily) in Regina’s City Square Plaza. Something that would provide a passive and fun activity for passersby (seriously who doesn’t like to sit and swing for awhile?) and add a sense of play and joy to such a key central space in the downtown.

Have a great weekend!

** Photos and video via Daily tous les jours

Friday Feature: 21 Balancoires

Friday Feature: Shop your ward

Last week, Shawn Fraser, Executive Director of Carmichael Outreach announced that he would be running for the Ward 3 seat on Regina’s City Council this fall. To kick off his campaign, Shawn issued a shop local challenge to himself and his family – they have committed to only shopping at businesses in Ward 3 for the next month. He also invited all Ward 3 residents to join him. So, this week our Friday Feature is Shop Your Ward!

Political campaigns aside, I think this initiative is great. When citizens support local businesses it builds an understanding of and a commitment to the place they live, it provides opportunities for neighbours to meet and share information, and it helps to promote the development of mixed-use, complete communities (something citizens have said they want to see more of during the Design Regina process).

I think it would be great to see people doing this all over the city! By shopping in your ward (both at small local shops and at chain stores), you are supporting a service in your community instead of pushing it to go elsewhere. Keeping businesses and amenities in neighbourhoods helps to encourage new patterns of development and may even encourage other small businesses to take root.

So to start off this lovely May weekend, I’d like to extend Shawn’s challenge to all citizens of Regina. Take the next month and try to shop exclusively in your ward. Visit your old standby shops (your local corner stores and coffee hangouts), but also take the time to dig deeper and find new or lesser-known shops as well. It might even help you to identify what services are missing in your local community that you can advocate for!

We here at RUE want to know what you find! Perhaps we can start a google map of local shops for citizens to share!

I too will be taking up the challenge from my temporary home here in Toronto. I just looked up my local ward and will be doing my best to shop within it – I’ll need to do some research to find the more affordable shops in the area… though I suppose there is always Honest Ed’s! ;)

Have a great weekend!

** mouse over images for credit info.

Friday Feature: Shop your ward

Friday Feature: The Swap Box

The McGill School of Urban Planning received sad news this week. A student who was finishing up his masters in the program passed away a few days ago. Maks was a year or so ahead of my class so we didn’t really get a chance to know him well, but from the few conversations I had with him and the stories of others it is clear that he was a person passionate about thinking creatively about the urban landscape and making cities better places to live. Spacing Ottawa has a really great post here.

Through the school I learned about a project that Maks started in Ottawa a few years ago called the Swap Box. The concept is that people take an object from the swap box and leave something in its place… a swap with strangers – kind of like give a penny/take a penny but way more interesting. What’s great about this project is that it allows anyone and everyone moving through the city to interact with fellow citizens both spatially and temporally – it’s an opportunity to share a little bit of yourself with others and learn something about those around you. It’s the kind of thing we at RUE love to see. More of Maks’ work can be seen here (it looks like he also did some pieces for Briarpatch – such a small world). His presence will be missed.

Hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend.

xo

Friday Feature: The Swap Box

Friday Feature: Glowing Cities…

 

I came across this beautiful video a few days ago and knew I had to share it. It’s a time-lapse video of a nighttime flight capturing 3 hours of flight. The subtle glow of the clouds lit up captures every city and town that is passed. It really is beautiful to watch and makes you think a little differently about the built environment and how cities really do emanate out in all directions (and in many ways).

The video was created a few years ago by James Leng – he is currently a master’s student studying architecture at Harvard.

From his description:

On my night time flight back to SF from Amsterdam, I noticed that the lights from cities were making the clouds glow. Really spectacular and ethereal – it was really seeing the impact of urban environments from a different perspective. Each glow or squiggle represents one town or city!

Have a great weekend!

** video credit James Leng

Friday Feature: Glowing Cities…