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Posts Tagged ‘uni project’

There is a huge structure in the middle of the Greenway that the inventive Sam and Leslie of Uni Project fame once envisioned as a projection screen for summer film festivals. It houses the Big Dig’s ventilation system.

About a week ago I was walking past and noticed what looked like window washers cleaning it. I thought, “Now, why would anyone want to wash that thing?”

A couple days later I saw why. Prepping the canvas.

This is in Dewey Square, where less than one year ago Occupy Boston pitched camp.

Now, writes Geoff Edgers in the Boston Globe, “That’s where Os Gemeos (‘the twins’), famous in the street art world for creating towering cartoonish figures with bright colors and grimacing expressions, began work on their first Boston piece. Depending on weather, they’ll need a little over a week to craft the mural on a wall of a Big Dig ventilation building and a second, smaller piece on the Revere Hotel near Boston Common.

“The pieces are part of the first solo museum exhibition in the United States for Os Gemeos. The Institute of Contemporary Art show, featuring paintings, mixed media works, and installations, opens Aug. 1.”

Read more and check out other art by these guys at the Globe.

You might also like to read the museum’s description of the brothers’ upcoming the exhibition:

“This August the ICA will present the first solo exhibition in the United States of works by the Brazilian brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. Best known as Os Gêmeos, the twins are a major force in graffiti and urban art. The twins have a deep bond; they are tireless collaborators and say that they often experience the same dreams. In an effort to share their dreams with the world, they depict their visions in surreal paintings, sculpture, and installations: human figures with removable faces, exploding bursts of color, and room-size heads installed with shanty interiors.”

More from the ICA here.

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Do you ever look at ArtsJournal? It has the best links!

Today there’s a fun link to the Post-Standard in Syracuse about a library in a phone booth.

Writes Maureen Nolan: “The Little Free Library credo is ‘take a book, leave a book.’ That’s pretty much the only rule. Every Little Free Library is supposed to have a volunteer community steward, and Mother Earth, whose given name is Taywana James, is a natural. She lives barely a block from the library. She is a mother, poet and artist involved in a number of projects to better the Near West Side, and she loves books.  …

“Rick Brooks, co-founder of the Little Free Library movement, estimates there are 300 to 400 little libraries in 33 states and 17 countries. He doesn’t know if most people bring books back. In the Little Free Library movement, the return rate doesn’t seem to be a critical data point.” More here on Little Free Libraries.

I am reminded of the Uni Project, which I blogged about here. It’s a portable reading room, first deployed in New York City last September.

One of the founders of the effort, Sam Davol (also a cellist in the band the Magnetic Fields), writes about the Uni Project here: “On Sunday, Sep. 11, the Uni was put into service for the first time. Lower Manhattan residents joined us to inaugurate the Uni by gathering to browse and read our small collection on a difficult morning. While most of the surrounding blocks were locked down and public libraries in Manhattan were closed, the Uni began its journey among good people who came out to visit a public market and meet the Uni.”

(That was the same day Suzanne and Erik startled the guardians of the people by renting a small boat and going sailing in New York harbor.)

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The other day on an American Public Media radio broadcast, I heard a story about Better Block Houston and its approach to urban revitalization. “The Better Block is a national movement which originated in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. Better Block projects have improved neighborhoods in Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Portland, and Memphis.”

Concerned residents focus on a vision for one block and throw a daylong event showing the potential.  The idea is that visitors might come to see the event and its special one-day amenities and would then notice cool things about the area and decide to return. New businesses might decide to move in. Sounds like wishful thinking, but the Better Block folks claim the approach is attracting more foot traffic and business.

“The ‘Better Block’ project provides a one-day living workshop of how a ‘Complete Street’ works, by actively engaging the community, helping them to visualize better outcomes for the future, and empowering them to provide feedback in real time. Better Block is a fun and interactive demonstration of a ‘Complete Street’ — and what it can do for a neighborhood. Complete Streets …  are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a complete street. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from train stations.”

In Boston, a young couple I know, Sam and Leslie Davol, had an idea to set up a temporary library in Chinatown, which had not had a branch library in decades. Their project made use of a storefront that had been vacant during the economic downturn.

Leslie just sent out an e-mail about what they’re working on next: The Uni Project.

“Many of you know the Storefront Library, which Sam and I undertook in a vacant storefront in Boston’s Chinatown last year. That project had a big impact on us, just as it did on the Chinatown community. Since then, we’ve helped several local groups take over the books and Chinatown’s library advocacy, and we’ve spent time exploring a broader need for places like libraries in urban neighborhoods and cities generally. …

“The Uni is a portable infrastructure that will allow us to quickly deploy and create staffed, open-air reading rooms in almost any available urban space. The Uni is based on a system of cubes, and the books inside those cubes are just the start. Like libraries, we plan to use the Uni to provide a compelling venue for readings, talks, workshops, and screenings, through partnerships with local organizations and institutions. And the best part, once we fabricate this lightweight infrastructure, we can keep it running, serve multiple locations, and even replicate it.” Read about The Uni Project here.

8/11/12 update on Uni Project here. Now it’s even in Kazakhstan.

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