Another of the talks from contextual studies week that was of great interest to me was Luisa Alpalhao’s talk on To Build or not to Build.
Luisa discussed three projects she had been working on in detail. All her projects involve communication and are process based participatory projects.
The first project was based in Lisbon and was named Jogos de Rua, quite literally street games. She developed this project with a small school and the aim was to create a mobile playground consisting of 8 parts each with a different theme. It took into account graphic design, textile design and events management, The different parts were made up of recycled materials and were put together in a warehouse aided by members of the community. Luisa aimed through the whole project to create workshops with the families so they could get involved with the creation and final parts of this playground. This included a final parade in which the components were wheeled around the town for all of the town to view. In the end the models stayed in the playground of the school instead of fulfilling their original purpose. It made her put into question the short life span of object and what will remain in the future.
The next project she took on board was again a collaborative project, but this time between Portugal and Norway. In both Norway and Portugal they have a certain type of building which stores corn in Portugal, Espigueiros, and dry food in Norway,Stabburs. In general these buildings tend to be run down and Luisa’s aim was to bring them back to life using local materials. For this collaboration to take place, ideas, postcards and photographs would be exchanged between the schools. At the beginning the project lacked funding and it was tricky to get off the ground. Eventually Luisa managed to gain support from Side Project however it was slow and did not pick up straight away. She found herself focussing more on Norway as she was given a lot of support by the community. She worked with school years two, five and six using model making, maps, puzzles and animations in order that they could understand and improve upon these buildings. Just like in her project Jogos de Rua, a parade was put on with models of the drawings the children had created. This project is currently in progress and she hopes to be able to create structures that can be taken apart and rebuilt in different places.
Her final project, which I found the most intriguing, took place on a residency in Japan. The project was called Table for 100 and took place in Fukuoka. The aim of the project was to link the tables of Portugal and Japan. The Japanese and Portuguese have always had a strong relationship with food, even as two separate countries the Portuguese went to Japan to introduce their food. Again Luisa took on the challenge of collaborating with different school to create mobile constructions, photographic scenarios and several activities. In order to enhance her learning she enrolled in Japanese cooking classes. The final outcome for this project took place in a gallery. All along the gallery there were photos, interviews, habits, sketches, and diagrams showing food from both countries. This also included menu preparation and board games. On the roof of the gallery, different social table constructions were made and people could sit and sample the food that was being cooked in front of them.