AA3DS5 - Complexity

The Autumn project, Faenza, investigated the properties of soup as a potential social condenser. Each working with a unique soup, linked to a global culture, students interrogated processes of soup making and consumption and reinterpreted them for deployment at the sensitive Abbey ruins site in Reading. What do towns and cities seek to import? What are the advantages? Can you control who / what comes? Should you? Town development plans, policies that determine what is permitted and what is not, what is actively discouraged and what is supported with funding and facilities shape both infrastructure and transient, presences and populations. What are the pros and cons of visiting new exhibitions, of new commuters, new pilgrims, new bands, new celebrities, new films, new drinks, new menus, new soups….? How long would you want these many ‘visitors’ to stay? Which parts of the economy might they inflate? What are the related costs? Tidying up, for example, coach parks, public toilets, tourist centres, emergency provisions? £300,000 worth of tents were left behind by (too?) wealthy festival goers after last-years Reading Festival. What effect do such imports have on regular local bands, local artists, local soups? What are the cultural consequences of consuming? 

Module Convenor: Oliver Froome-Lewis 

Design Studio Team: Oliver Froome-Lewis, Negin Ghorbhani, Mike Kane, Sayan Skandarajah, Michelle Tomlinson 

Visitors: Gillian Horn, Tim O’Callaghan, Penélope Plaza 

Our Autumn Project, High Wire, examined the calamity of cultural closures and proposed a different kind of venue – the POP-UP-NANO-CIRCUS. The project focussed on high wire acts that would take place initially on a mobile circus barge and subsequently develop into a wider enterprise with a high wire school. Working with research into their individual circus’s in mind everyone embarked on a Google-fuelled-navigation of the French Canal System, scouting a series of suitable places to tie-up their vessel and stage performances. In the first phase practice sessions would take place with the barge under-way and nightly performances would play to long thin audiences, spaced out along the towpath. We investigated wires, tensioning, poles, struts and drew on the specificities of high-wire equipment,, to create performance linked morphologies. The lightweight and portable elements of the project: the high wire equipment, demountable seating element, canopy, control kiosk, lighting, sound equipment and living accommodation all packed away into the hold of the barge. Finding ways to draw the unpacking and assembly process was part of the challenge. The second phase forecast a hypothetically-joyful-near-future in which the barge based high wire acts had attracted eager sold-out mini-crowds and the mayors of districts throughout France were insisting that the shows be bought to their part of the canal system. Other barges would now perform a variety of high wire acts – so a semi-permanent tow-path wire support facility, WSF, was required. This success also created opportunities for more varied kinds of rehearsal, an occasional circus school and a physio-spa for performers.

Module Convenor: Oliver Froome-Lewis 

Design Studio Team: Oliver Froome-Lewis, Negin Ghorbani, John Harding, Mike Kane, Sabrina Morreale,  Michelle Tomlinson. 

Internal Guests: Lorraine Farrelly, Penelope Plaza, Sayan Skandarajah.

External Guests: Toby Blackman, Alexis Kalli, Hiyunbai Jun, Juan Pedro Leiva Lopez, Chantelle Niblock, Matt Ruddy, Ashmi Thapar, Seamus Ward, Ronald Yee.