SPEECHBUBBLE by Common Practice
Identify a public space
Common Practice is an emerging architecture and design collective based in New York. We have created temporary architectural installations and shelters throughout New York and have exhibited projects in art spaces in New York and abroad: New York’s Storefront for Art & Architecture, Columbia University, the 2012 Venice Biennale and at the upcoming exhibit “Disobedient Objects” at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Our submission for Designing for Free Speech will occupy both the intimate space of a mobile shelter, and the entire physical and ideological expanse of New York City. We have already built an inflatable, mobile film-studio that we will use to interview designers and activists. The interviews, held inside the shelter, create a seamless series of videos, all shot on one stage with a changing backdrop of public spaces. We will launch the interview series this summer on Governor’s Island in conjunction with our residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Over the course of three weekends on Governor’s Island we will ask designers and activists to talk about the role of public space in the city, and after our launch we will travel to other public spaces. Each interview will be posted online for the public – as interest for the general public and for other designers. Our project sits at the intersection of architecture and speech and we are confident this intersection will create new kinds of support for those interested in the future of the city.
For the interviews, we will travel to the public spaces and the offices, studios, or workspaces of each interviewee, inflate the interview tent, and conduct a short interview from inside the tent. One of the architecture groups we plan to interview, Snarkitecture, is located in an industrial area of Greenpoint, near the Newtown Creek. For this interview, we will speak with Alex Mustonen and Daniel Ashram from within our interview tent with the creek and industrial Brooklyn in the background of the shot. We have tested the shots, and the plastic membrane creates a misty white background that will be consistent throughout every interview. Because the material is semitransparent it is possible to see some of the background details, so while each interview will have a similar look, it will be unique in capturing different atmosphere of each designer’s workspace. The tent is an ideal location because the inflation method – a bicycle – travels to each interview, so we can meet with designers in their own spaces. The tent is our set, separate from the designer’s normal environment, yet still connected to their workspace, and we hope, a space where their inner thoughts and ideas will be explored and unveiled to the public.
Common Practice has already built the prototype of the inflatable interview tent and have begun the process of reaching out to designers to interview. The tent itself is incredibly easy to assemble and take down and can be transported via the bicycle. By peddling the bicycle while it is stationary, an attached repurposed HVAC fan quickly inflates the tent. The structure inflates in minutes and stays inflated for enough time to conduct an interview. It’s very simple! We now only need to source funds for video equipment and video hosting and we hope Designing for Free Speech will make that a reality. We have all the materials we need for video editing, but we need to source a digital camera for either rental or purchase and also need to obtain high-quality audio recording equipment. These interviews need to be high-quality and professional for two reasons: to incentivize the designers to conduct the interviews, and to create video material that will be attractive to the public and the young designers we hope will be watching these videos. In order to cut costs we plan to host the videos via Youtube, but we will still need to cover the web hosting costs for the project website homepage. We’re excited to get started!
Common Practice is an architectural design collective that includes Greta Hansen, Nicolas Gomez, Adam Koogler, Kyung-Jae Kim, and Andrejs Rauchut. Each member of the team has been involved in a number of inflatable projects for Common Practice.
Greta Hansen has worked on 123Occupy, a design prototype for an inflatable shelter for the Occupy Wall Street protests and was featured at the Venice Biennale.
Adam Koogler has also worked on 123Occupy and along with Greta developed a bicycle powered version of the 123Occupy inflatable shelter.
Kyung-Jae Kim has worked on the 123Occupy shelter and has developed a number of drawings and visualizations for the Common Practice projects.
Andrejs Rauchut worked on 123Occupy and after the completion of his Fulbright Grant will return to New York to assist with the newest project.
Nicolas Gomez, along with the other members of Common Practice, has worked on a model of the123Occupy shelter that will be on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum this summer.
For our upcoming project, each member of our team will be using the new mobile interview shelter to interview the designers of their choice.