Announcing the winners of Science of the City II!

This second edition of Science of the City will have different phases. It will travel around different cities of the world where it will incorporate new videos, new ideas and new debates.

So far, the first phase of this second edition ended on December 15th. It got a high level participation. The members of the jury have been Irene Lapuente, Ramon Sangüesa, Albert Folk, Claire Ribrault and Livio Riboli-Sasco. They had a hard job choosing for the best videos. Finally, they decided to hand the prizes to these three following videos:

La basura en la ciudad (150€)

Avorriment a l’Institut (150€)
Biogas (150€)

We would like to congratulate the winners and all the rest of the participants for their effort and their learning experienced!

The following steps will lead us to connect the participants with science researchers in the following fields: waste, perception and energy. We will keep you informed!

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Read about the reasons and thoughts behind Science of the City!

A catalog full of reflections about science, city, arts, communication and participation was born thanks to the exhibition process of the project Science of the City. The prologue was written by Roger Sansi, an anthropologist and a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the University of Barcelona. Artists such as Eugènia Augustí, Montse Carreño, Raquel Muñoz, Mercè Casanovas, Borja Leo Fermoselle, Sergi Selvas, Aleix Molet, Eloi Puig, Cristina Pastó, Anja Steidinger, Alicia Vela and Antònia Vilà explain their art pieces. Ramon Sangüesa and Irene Lapuente tell us about the reasons behind this project. All these texts are available in four languages​​: English, Spanish, French and Catalan at la Mandarina de Newton Issuu:

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Discovering the Science of the City project with la Malla Tendències

The Science of the City project attracted the interest of La Malla Tendències TV who produced the wonderful video that you see here.  It is a good way to learn more details about the research and experimentation process behind the nine pieces of art that have been exposed at Arts Santa Mònica for nearly two weeks.

With a flexible and imaginative style, this report shows between different videos created by people all over the world and builds a story from them. It adds the collective views and experiences of all participants in the process: citizens who submitted videos, artists and curators. Irene Lapuente, explains the genesis of the whole project. Inés Navarro, tells us why her team of citizen participants decided to choose a lunar eclipse as the subject of their video.  She also tells us about and what they got to know from the astronomy buffs that they met on Montjuïc, a the hill that overlooks Barcelona. Borja Leonardo Fermoselle and Aleix Molet, two artists of the IMARTE art research Group, explain how they elaborated their own re-interpretations of scientific facts taking their curiosity as a starting point, as other citizens did.

Looking at the final results, there is no doubt that everyone has some way or other integrated the science in their lives, creating a source of new questions for the future.

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The first TalentLab session: Living Experiments - I

Some days ago we held the first session of the workshop “Living Experiments“, part of the TalentLab project. It took place at the Agrigenomics Research Center, (CRAG, CSIC-IRTA-UAB) a research center of CSIC, the Spanish Sperior Council for Research. The session’s design included an intense working dimension. But, first, to warm up, we started with a visit to the CRAG premises. It was led by CRAG researcher Ana Caño who provided very interesting explanations. It was during the visit to the CRAG greenhouses that the participants in the workshop (researchers and school teachers) started to show their interest in the questions that the session was meant to revolve around.

Starting from these interests, as we had planned, we moved on to get to work in one of the CRAG work rooms. Irene Lapuente from la Mandarina de Newton S.L -CoCreating Cultures- started by explaining the structure of the workshop to the participants. In no time everyone was hard at work!

They organized themselves into three groups. By using different techniques, we facilitated different discussions within each group and a general one as well. Step by step, the attendees become more familiar with co-creation processes.

The first activity, to spark inspiration, started generic discussions about the relationship between science, education and society. The first group remarked the role of the different fears (fear to change in general, of nuclear power, of trangenics) in understanding the relationship between science and society. The second emphasized the role played by the media and educators in creating a predominant image of the animal kingdom in the collective imagination (making plants and vegetables much less prominent in comparison). Finally, the third group picked the goals of improving quality of life and general well-being as an important guiding princple for scientific research which, however, operates under anthropocentric premises.

After this, a more exploratory activity started. Participants were asked to identify challenges for education in the mid-long term (2030). There were significant coincidences between the three groups. All of them gave a key predominant role to the energetic challenge. There were specific contributions and variations on this subject. The first group projected a significant geopolitical shift, motivated by China becoming a global superpower. The second group anticipated a positive twist in the social consideration of researchers and school teachers. The last group envisaged an intensification of conflicts related to natural resources, specially water.

The participants defined the profiles of the users of the educative resources that will eventually be the result of the Talentlab project. They resorted to their own experiences or their imagination to depict the main traits of these future users. They were described as people familiar with new technologies -although they did not necessarily knew them in depth- who had low motivation, were skeptical about everything and had little confidence in their own abilities.

The last activity consisted in building an affinity diagram from elements that had emerged from the previous activities. The first group ideated an activity for the classroom about energy using participatory methodologies. The second group created an experiemental activity that should help in creating a direct relationship between researchers and students. The third group proposed to create a graphic adventure about energy.

All along the session the atmosphere was relaxed and favourable for working. Participants were able to move from very general discussions to a first levell of workable detail. From now until the next session (novembet 2nd) the groups have engaged themselves in an imternal documentation activity that is taking place online.

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Laura Valls. Unitat de Cultura Científica Delegació del CSIC
Irene Lapuente. Co-Creating Cultures/La Mandarina de Newton SL
Ramon Sangüesa. Co-Creating Cultures/La Mandarina de Newton SL
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Ready, set, vote!

The deadline for submitting videos (except in French which has a separate deadline, July 19) for  the  Science of the City video contest finished last week. From now on, you can start voting via the platform, which eventually will host the virtual exhibition of Science of the City. Remember that you can only vote once because the system recognizes the IP.

We are looking for the video you like the most because of its clarity, originality and format. The voting period will be open until July 14th, 2011. The chosen video will get a prize of $ 150.

A jury of five people: Irene Lapuente, Ramon Sanguesa and Albert Folk, members of Co-Creating Cultures, Patricia Homs, a member of the science area at ​​Arts Santa Mònica and Bob Ketner, the manager of the Tech Virtual at the Tech Museum, will choose the videos that will be awarded for: the best video (600$), the best video in English (300$), the best video in Spanish (300$), the best finding (150$), the best question (150$) and the best experiment (150$).

The awards will be public on July 15th 2011 in this blog.

Thank you for your collaboration, we look forward to your vote and  we wish good luck to all participants!

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P.U.P.E. (1)

This is the first article of a series dedicated to the public, the user, the participant, the spectator… (from now on the P.U.P.E in its Spanish version). As it is a topic with a lot of shades of meanings, I think it is appropriate to dedicate more than one article. Today, we will make few considerations about this key topic in the cultural participation.

We will go back in time remembering Walter Benjamin – it is always interesting to have a Renaissance attitude with the classics. We can never forget the fact that it has been 75 years that we are observing the shifting of location of the cultural object and its addressees. Since art has entered in the age of technical reproducibility, its aura, the hic et nunc, it remains depreciated due to its accessibility and projection in favour of the citizens. The art work for the first time “goes to meet its receiver, under the form of a photography or a disc. The cathedral gives up its location to be welcome at the studio of an art lover; the choral piece that has been interpreted in an auditorium or in the open air can be now listened in a room”.

I would like to start this trajectory of the p.u.p.e around the planet emphasizing what apparently looks like an obviousness, but which often, we do not pay attention to. Like Víctor Molina explains in a wonderful and surprising article that opens his book Querido público (cherished public in English) “it exists a close tie between the intimate body and the social mankind”. This mysterious comment highlights the trend (proper as well of the social sciences) that the p.u.p.e is seen as impersonal, like if he was an independent and external body, when in reality, the p.u.p.e, this is us!

With these two premises and by changing perspectives, we will be able to make an approximation a lot more precise and loyal of the interactive paradigm.

At the initial contact with the participative universe, when I thought about the role of a cultural centre as an interconnector, a facilitator, a creator, a co-designer or a platform, I thought that the complement of these subjects was the “cultural product” (these role have first been stablished by Nina Simon and during our first Tallers 2.0., Ramon explained to the crew) . But later on, I understood that the complement had to do with the “user”: cultural centres, creators of users, co-designers with the users, platforms for the users, etc. like the anglophile trends name user centred projects. So the best way to link the p.u.p.e to a cultural project (social, citizenship, etc.) is to make it his, going a lot further than only giving him voice and vote, or giving him the keys of the house for him to go at ease.

To transmit this message, it is recommended to bring it on the personal sphere.  We need to become conscious that our p.u.p.e is used as an argument to justify the success and failure of almost everything. This is why we consider honesty as a core value to guarantee that our project works. With this series of articles, we propose to do a 360º tour around the p.u.p.e. Our contemporaneity (maybe due to the mercantilism of the society) does not conceive any public activity or citizenship proposal without the complicity of its own p.u.p.e. Even like this, it is necessary to be careful with this complicity and not loose the north, nor generalizing, neither renouncing to everything to get the aimed success.

And if, at the same time, we know that there is nothing that pleases “everybody”, we will get a lot closer to the reality that surrounds us or that surrounds our project, and the one we belong to.

It is compulsory to be clear regarding who is our addressees, how he/she is, who he/she is, how he/she acts, what we can give him/her, etc. i.e. all the questions answered by the market studies but brought to our field. Determine who we speak to and how is our p.u.p.e for all agents to feel part of the same project. Determine who will be the addressees or groups of addressees towards whom we will concentrate our efforts of communication, will help us optimize our resources to adapt the media, the style, the message, etc.

Social sciences have spared no efforts, neither studies to classify the human groups. There are endless typologies and variables: level of studies, geographical, age and vital circle, economical, etc. Of course, there are as well specific variables regarding the studies of cultural consumption: level of instruction, attendance, geographical, vital circle, generated benefit, enjoyment expectations (emotional, intellectual, apprenticeship, escape, fun), reaffirmation to the affiliation of a social group, cultural militancy.  There was an attempt as well to define these groups of consumers according to external factors of the cultural environment (demographical, economical, technological, political, legal) and internal factors (cultural, social, personal, psychological,  linked to the self-esteem, to the social acceptance, self-realization, etc.).

All these typologies are put to the service of the emotional and cultural marketing with mercantilist ends. Besides any ethical or moral consideration (or prejudice), you cannot deny the utility of these tools when it comes to refine the content of message. In the same line, we find interesting studies like the one adapted to the microanalitycal EKB buying behaviour to the live experience, that draws an interesting formula to take into account: “all these sensations felt by the spectator while experiencing the show, added up to the others which have to do with the attention received from the personal and the facilities of the venue, make, as a fact, the cultural product itself” and determine the grade of satisfaction of the public.

Even like this, and at the same time, Ricardo Antón gave us another key to understand this new paradigm in a recent interview we did with him from A+C+C CoCreació. He commented, talking about the participative user, that there is no need to go to look for him as he emerges on his own being a proactive character. He underlines that the work of a cultural agent should focus more on looking for the ways to transmit this attitude to the people whom cost them to let it go, who do not recognize his/her own value and capacity to bring added value.

In the line of Dolors Reig, we should bet on the citizen, the one that feeds the projects, but as well it is compulsory to know who is our “citizen”.

to be continued…

Flora Bacquelaine, 04/11/2011

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Bibliography::

Benjamin, Walter (1936). L’obra d’art a la època de la seva reproductibilitat tècnica. Tres estudis de sociologia de l’art. 1ª ed. Barcelona: Edicions 62/Diputació de Barcelona, 1983 (Col. Clàssics del pensament modern; nº9).

Sellas, Jordi i Colomer, Jaume (2009). Màrqueting de les arts escèniques. Creació i desenvolupament de públics. 1ª ed. Barcelona: Quaderns Gescènic.

Duarte, Ignasi i Bernat, Roger (eds.) (2009). Querido público. El espectador ante la participación: jugadores, usuarios, prosumers y fans. 1ª ed. Murcia: Centro Parraga, CENDEAC y Eléctrica Produccions.

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Workshop on ductile and transformable exhibition materials, “exhibition matter”

This year was the eighth edition of the meetings of science, art and thought organized by Art Santa Monica in Barcelona. This time the concept of matter was the focus to be addressed from different cultural perspectives and knowledge backgrounds. Ramon Sangüesa and Irene Lapuente from Co-Creating Cultures facilitated a workshop on transformable and ductile materials for exhibitions, on Saturday 2nd of October at 11am.

Again, the participants’ creativity, dialogue and good vibes were the most important highlights of the day. During three hours, twenty people were organized into three groups using clustering techniques and they were fast to organize themselves and build up three proposals: “the Spiral of knowledge”, “the scientific city” and “art without a message”. When the first hour of work was over, and a first sketch of what would each proposal be made, each member impersonated a character to behave as users critically “visiting” the other projects. Characters were not short of personality and originality at all! At this stage of the workshop, participants gave life to an art dealer, speechless people who communicating only by writing, or  a specially rebel teenager, among other colourful additions. Finally, a lively debate and discussion finished a pleasant early-morning session. We would like to thank all the participants for their comments, dicussion and creativity. Thanks to all of them!

In the afternoon, the schedule of the meetings followed with cooking workshops, conference and many more activities!

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Practical workshop on working with the public methods

On the 10th, 11th and 12th of September la Mandarina de Newton,  attended the Mercado Atlántico de Creación Contemporánea (MACC) in Santiago de Compostela. Ramon Sangüesa and Irene Lapuente presented the practical workshop on working with the public methodsl,where the attendees were invited to create cultural projects with materials by hand and rapid prototyping techniques. It was a successful attendance. Participants enjoyed three hours of intense work and creativity was present during the entire session.

On this occasion the projects that were created were related to exhibitions, creative spaces, design and entertainment. Participants gave birth, at least in prototype form, to bike rides with stops in order to understand how this personal transportation vehicle works, read novels that talk about bikes or show the images recorded during the tour, rebuilt towns through recycling artistic activities; an experience for the integration of the design discipline and a space to understand the Jamaican culture.

Through role playing, a technique which simulates a situation that could occur in real life and where people adopt the role of a particular character, participants were able to improve and test their proposals.

We closed the session sharing the experience with a brief discussion of what had happened. Still, we believe that the material being worked is not going to stay just as a prototype. The creative, excited and fighter attendees expressed that they saw new ways to go on working with their ideas. Thank you all for sharing with us 3 very interesting hours!

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