Venice Street Training - Architecture Biennale with muf

Submitted by Lottie on Wed, 2010-08-25 13:17

On the 28th August at 3.30pm performance artist Lottie Child and a group of people, mostly children, who live and work around Via Garibaldi in Venice, will lead a Street Training session for architects and planners. The session will invert educational hierarchies, with adult professionals being trained by children in imaginative responses to the built environment. We will explore the relations between the built infrastructure and the social infrastructure in terms of safety and joy. This is participatory performance - we make the meaning together and, like Venetian gothic decoration each person is free to express their own creativity.

During the Street Training session, professionals will learn from local people, children and from Lottie Child the ways in which public spaces can be used for joyful behaviour. We will explore the effects that this kind of behaviour has on our surroundings, on each other and on our own experience of place. A predetermined Street Training Circuit will be followed and joyful behaviours, known as Street Training techniques will be demonstrated in specific places.

A series of techniques for joyful behaviour will be demonstrated:
Those previously innovated and taught to Lottie by Venetain School children
Those applied by local children on a dialy basis
Techniques developed by children and adults in London on the Waste, part of Whitechapel High Street, soon to become High Street 2012 'the Olympic Boulevard'.

Play has all but been designed out of the built environment in many cities, Street Training research in London has revealed the extent to which playful and boundary-pushing behaviour can be wrongly identified as criminal. An attitude to ‘non productive’ behaviour forms part of a growing culture that minimizes the scope for creativity and interaction. Last night, outside a restaurant, I saw two little boys pick up from the table, the red paper bags in which their cutlery had been presented. They put them on their hands and they became boxing gloves, later they were playing around and discovered a place where their shadows were thrown onto the wall, shadow boxing ensued. Can the kind of imaginative, responsiveness to one’s environment, demonstrated by children be used to inform the shaping of place? Perhaps places where children play are good for all inhabitants, what are the characteristics of places where children are free to play, have agency and scope for development?

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