24 March 2012
We will be returning to Sudbury the week of April 9-13 for the final project in a series of community labs made possible by the Musagetes and Ontario Trillium Foundations. Called Amulets for Infrastructure, this project is a collaboration with the Brooklyn, New York, based smudge studio (Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth) and is inspired by their recent work in Japan. DodoLab and smudge studio met at Musagetes Sudbury café program last fall. We found that we shared both an approach to working and a deep interest in the challenges of adapting to sudden and at times catastrophic change. We found that their plans to return to Japan this spring and to engage the public echoed aspects of our inquiries in Sudbury concerning the critical place of infrastructure and attempts to design and build for a changing environment. We all wondered about how much of a factor hope and wishful thinking are in preparing for the future and the idea of a project based around talismans or amulets (prayer objects) evolved partly in response to traditional Japanese omamori (more details about those here).
"For us, the Amulets for Infrastructure project is less about the idea of “luck” sometimes associated with the concept of amulets or talismans, and more a reminder of ancient knowledges that tell of the power of nonhuman forces to shape and sometimes unseat human plans, including human-built structures and infrastructures. With Amulets for infrastructure, we hope to help extend awareness that future infrastructures and built environments need to be designed and used with geologic earth forces in mind." - smudge studio
Amulets for Infrastructure will explore each community’s relationship to the cities' infrastructure and probe the concept of predictability in design. The project is a humble acknowledgment that our planet is full of dynamic and powerful forces, which even our best technology and knowledge can fail to predict, prepare for and protect against. When faced with the limits of our knowledge and capacity to plan all we can do is hope that our infrastructure withstands the events of the future. The amulet for infrastructure is a manifestation both of an awareness of our limits and our hopes for the future.
Our collaborative plan is to concurrently engage the public in Sudbury (DodoLab) and Kyoto (smudge studio) in the making of wearable amulets that capture people's hopes/wishes for the infrastructure of their communities. Smudge is working with a folded paper format and we are working with a layered button and the goal is to actively link our public work in both cities. We are looking forward to once again being out and about in Sudbury and working with our friends at the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth.
This blog post is a part of the project: Greater Sudbury