Differentiation through Contemplation
"It may be, in fact, that our lives are still ruled by a certain number of unrelenting opposites, which institution and practice have not dared to erode. I refer here to opposites that we take for granted, such as the contrast between public and private space, family and social space, cultural and utilitarian space, the space of pleasure and the space of work - all opposites that are still actuated by a veiled sacredness...
There also exist, and this is probably true for all cultures and all civilizations, real and effective spaces which are outlined in the very institution of society, but which constitute a sort of counterarrangement, of effectively realized utopia, in which all the real arrangement, all the other real arrangements that can be found within society, are at one and the same time represented, challenged, and overturned: a sort of place that lies outside all places and yet is actually localizable. In contrast to the utopias, these places which are absolutely other with respect to all the arrangements that they reflect and of which they speak might be described as heterotopias..."
Michel Foucault - "Of Other Spaces", 1967
As digital communication and social media become ubiquitous in our modern lives, we increasingly live with a scarcity of spaces for reflection and contemplation in the build environment. Quiet, safe, solitary, analog, places (the hammock on the porch, the breakfast nook, the attic dormer window seat, the backyard apple tree, et al.) where a person could retreat to find psychological space to read, write, to process information, to reflect upon past events, and to imagine the future -- without interruption or distraction -- are rapidly becoming inaccessible to the average urbanite.
This workshop will explore the concept of contemplative space and developing an artistic approach to crafting these spaces.
Roger Cummings, Co-Founder, Juxtaposition Arts
Roger Cummings is the Chief Cultural Producer of JXTA a visual art and cultural Social Enterprise that trains and mentors youth and community members from Minneapolis Saint Paul. Cummings activates relationships between space and place through art, design, independent livelihood, and collective social enterprise.
Cummings' work acknowledges, while at the same time, progresses the direction of urban visual expression. He aims to create works of art in public and private spaces that have personal and impersonal uses, in the hopes of enlivening meaningful, human interactions.
Urban architecture, design, and planning inform my work. In close examination of these influences, my work has taken the form of largescale sculptures, pocket parks, and functional enhancements to public space. The functionality of my work aims to incite in urban citizens' a lens through which they are able to see themselves included, represented, and civically engaged in establishing the visual identities of their neighborhood. In placing my work at the center of a critical dialogue, where art becomes a vehicle through which cooperative models of community engagement encourage social interactions in public space, my choice of materials have evolved. I have explored new ways of mixing an accessible medium like aerosol paint with steel, stone, recyclable found objects, and photo voltaic. I also have experimented with using tiles and fabric to extrude and create three-dimensional multi-media biomorphic structures that reference Hip Hop, urban design, and sustainability.
James Garrett Jr, AIA, NOMA; Managing Partner+Architect, 4RM+ULA; Adjunct Instructor UMN ARCH