The corner of neighboring church's backyard (also a community garden) and the house I live in is alive and occupied by conversations during nicer weather. It is a melting pot for participating community and garden loving families of the area to stop on their way and check in. Being an informal group there is no schedule or committee, instead it becomes a venue for weekly exchange of help, tips and food (mostly Indian snacks and garden fruits). No one really knows when it all began but it became a routine when Claire, a master gardener moved to Longfellow 17 years ago and asked the church to convert the backyard into public space to grow vegetables. This corner intersects a foot traffic path connecting 37th and 38th ave homes so it was another reason to be a center spot. Most meetings are standing forums stretched through evening until it is dark and most participants are 40-55 yrs of age. This is not a diverse group and there are no typical cultural dimensions to it.
Gail's suggestion to consider possibilities of creating infrastructure to support these activities is on my mind. In addition, I might consider the manner of exchange and markers in its collective history.
Season Repair (continued as final corner project )
I interested in ways of reusing ignored objects and knowledge. While in class we learned about researches, experiments and new breed of materials extending known material's cycle by turning it into unexpected as creative solutions for constructions. For my rework on corner project, I took a low tech route inspired by neomaterials idea but closely tied to 'reusing'.
Since this venue challenged my perception of street and neighborhood, it is a good place to challenge our practices and perceptions of private and public spaces. So I placed a bench made of found wood in the ally. It's template was borrowed from the previous owner of my house. A box was placed on it (made of found cardboard and wrapping paper during an ally walk) that was filled with season repair tools to take away. (I am planning to make another bench as part of new infrastructure and waterproof both benches since the rain is harming this old wood)
These tools are a collection of activity ideas, recipes, games and photo postcards that will help recharge the urge of connecting with family and others. Here, I am partly dealing with the problem of existing lack of connection in a city, and partly conveying ideas about reconstruction, or about reclaiming and democratizing our process of transition to warmer environment. Participation would lead to a personal dialogue and the tools will manipulate the process of engagement within privet and public circles and ultimately the season's assembly. Situated within the comfort next to the sense of fragility, participant is reminded and exposed to simple solutions to urgent problems.
Example of game: Kabaddi
A line is drawn on sand or on soft earth. The two opposing teams, five to ten or more, stand on either side of this line.
A member of one team crosses the line into the opposing camp, chanting the magic word 'Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabaddi', without breathing. If he is able to touch one or two boys while still uttering the word 'Kabaddi', the person touched is 'dead' and the visitor runs back to his side.
Then another member from his team goes out. But it may happen that the visitor is caught on the opposite side by the fellow who is touched, or by someone else from the opposing team. Then he is said to have 'died'.
Now a member from the other side goes out to visit the first team. A team has to 'kill' all the members of the opposing team to win the game.
I also included prints of Open Fiend Calendar and its details from website
Example fun recipe:
2 cups chopped pitted peeled mango
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh Tabasco chipotle sause
mix it, season with salt & pepper, share with all to dig in with pita/chips/tortilla.
Onion Pakora :
Goes well at dinner time with Italian dishes or Mexican cuisine.
1 cup chickpea flour
2 small Onions, thinly sliced
2-3 tsp Red Chilli Powder
½ tsp Turmeric (optional/find at cub foods)
2 tsp Ova (Ajwain seeds) (optional/find at cub foods)
¼ tsp Baking Soda (optional if you are watching calories from oil)
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
How to proceed:
1) Mix all the ingredients except oil and sliced Onions
2) Add enough water to make consistency of pancake batter
3) Heat oil in a pan
4) Add sliced onion to this batter in batches (don't add all at once else onions will leave some water and the batter will become free flowing!)
5) Make wicked balls such that onion slices are coated with the batter and there seem equal amount of batter and onion
6) Deep fry in oil and drain excess oil using paper tissues
7) Serve hot with tomato sauce or with a hot cup of tea on a rainy day when trapped indoors!! :)