Spacing Out

This week, the Reader Advisor takes on one of the buzzwords in the non-profit world–"placemaking." – Artblog editor

Performance of "Decapitated Rabbits" during the OCGOPF via below link
Performance of “Decapitated Rabbits” during the OCGOPF via below link

“This project creates a space for _____________”

“This project seeks to provide a ___________ space”

The creation of “spaces” is an often-invoked mechanism in cultural documents, reports, and applications. It is a quick and effective literary tool that helps illustrate project benefits that might not be easily accounted for or evaluated. This turn of phrase also nicely references the most current and prominent tactic (or buzzword) within non-profit community cultural engineering called “placemaking,” which describes efforts that seek to revitalize communities through the reinvention and reorientation of public spaces. Taking a longer consideration of “space creation” has led me to this week’s links. Specifically, how do we effect our environments through actions alone? Can a physical space be altered by non-physical means? These questions plus more in this week’s Reader Advisor.


In case you missed it, two weeks ago was the third iteration of the Open Call Guerilla Outdoor Performance Festival (OCGOPF), which took place at Rittenhouse Square and the smaller John Collins Park, both located in Center City, Philadelphia. The OCGOPF is organized by local artist and curator Beth Heinly and is pretty much exactly what it aspires to be: an unsanctioned, unjuried celebration of rupture for the non-art-viewing public. (Learn more about OCGOPF here.) For me, OCGOPF has a clear lineage with early Dada performances where the nonsensical and the irrational were meant to aggressively counteract the conformity within early 20th century bourgeois and capitalist society. More contemporarily, OCGOPF feels like Ally Sheedy’s character in “The Breakfast Club.” Making dandruff snowscapes and eating pixie stick sandwiches, she is there for no other reason than to disrupt and disarm the social order. OCGOPF’s mission is the same and it is important. As Philadelphia’s income and class disparities increase, so does the intensity of our normative spaces. And while many of last week’s festival bystanders were terrified and discomfited by what they saw, a great many more shared a visible joy in the sweet pleasure of watching social conventions diffused and abused. After all, our public spaces should not belong to our binding insecurities but rather to our special eccentrics and quirks that keep us human and freaky together.
[ via Youtube ]

Did Judith Butler shift the country’s understanding of gender? Did she create a space where gender is performative and not founded in the body? Did that space already exist?
[ via New York Magazine ]

A safe space of a different breed:
“And then it dawned on me: For them the arena, and then the parking lot, had become their own safe spaces, where these people, who had long been reined in by changing societal expectations and especially the heavy burden of political correctness, felt they were finally free of the ridiculous expectations of overly sensitive liberals.”
[ via The New York Times ]


One man’s crusade to reclaim city streets in the name of comfort and dry body interiors.
[ via Philly Voice ]

This Lisa Frank adult coloring book is either your head space nightmare or dream come true.
[ via ]