“EmpathiCITY, Making our City Together” was curated by Laetitia Wolff and Josyane Franc to activate the UNESCO creative cities of design network, which Saint-Etienne joined in 2010. EmpathiCITY explores the general International Design Saint-Etienne biennale 2013 whose theme was “empathy or the experience of the other”. EmpathiCITY aimed to reveal the transformative power of design as a tool for social cohesion in the urban context. EmpathiCITY is an invitation to the 11 cities of design, members of the network including Buenos Aires, Berlin, Montreal, Nagoya, Kobe, Shenzhen, Seoul, Shanghai, Saint-Etienne, Graz and Beijing–to create a special project or to present results of actions developed in a collaborative framework. In partnership with non-profit organizations, community associations, municipal agencies, designers conceive interventions to improve the quality of urban life while fostering social bonds.
The exhibition EmpathiCITY also included a section dedicated to expoTENtial, as one of the main collaborative models of inspiration.
ExpoTENtial started to address the urban issue of light waste—think, the lights on and no one home, the iconic city skyline at night—as the subject of the District One lab. In order to identify how design might mediate between citizen and government on this particular issue, ExpoTENtial, in collaboration with its designer David Heasty and curator Jackie Khiu partners, hoped research would provide the contextual basis to develop meaningful strategies to engage the citizen in various light-saving actions and awareness campaigns. The team decided to focus on the City’s first electrified energy grid, District One, as both the study site and symbolic territory. Serviced by the Pearl Street Station, built in 1882, District One was the first modern electric utility covering a rectangular .65 square-kilometer area bordered by Wall Street to the south.
The District One Lab quickly identified the problems of scale. To push advance District One’s light waste project, it was first necessary to understand the production and distribution of electricity. expoTENtial established an academic partnership starting in Fall 2012 with a graduate student-team from Cornell University’s City and Regional Planning (CRP) composed of urban designers, architects, planners and architecture historians Vidhee Garg, Jacob McNally, Rebecca Parelman, Jiang Ren and Steven Wang. Meanwhile we extended the partnership to collaborate with Town+Gown on this research project.
This project is still a work in progress… read some updates here
The NYChairrette, a lab exploring the next NY public space chair
Where: First Park, 33 East First Street, a public cultural park, located at last year’s location of BMW Guggenheim Lab, between 2nd Avenue & Houston Street
Emily Weidenhof, Public Spaces, DOT Division of Traffic & Planning
Gail Wittwer-Laird, Capital Projects Division for New York City Parks
For those who missed the Urban Alchemy experiment on Saturday May 14, 2011, 8-10pm at the corner of Lafayette & Bleecker, here is the story in a few words and images.
Also indie filmmaker Maria Byck helped us keep track of the whole creative process with a sweet documentary, posted on Paper Tiger Television site, one of our project partners. Check it out hereNo comments