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Wednesday June 16th, 2010

Posted at 3:49pm

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It may seem like I’m a BCL groupie, because of all the coverage I give them. The fact is, they do good things in a city that needs more good things happening. They continue to push boundaries when it comes to public art projects, and they won’t rest until the city’s self-perspective changes for the better.

From the Broken City Lab website… “The residencies will attempt to intervene with the everyday realities of skyrocketing vacancy rates, failing economic strategies, and a population of people who are continually losing hope for their city.”

For the remainder of this month, and continuing in July, BCL is staging their latest project, Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation. When I first heard about this project, I thought it was just a rumour. I said to myself, “There’s no way they can offer local artists storefront gallery space for FREE.” Well, they’ve done just that.

The Storefront Residencies for Social Innovation project began last Friday, with the BCL crew cleaning and fixing up three storefronts along Pelissier Street- units 406, 410 and 424. Despite the construction, the group is forging ahead, and they hope to get as many Windsorites visiting as possible. The more people who see the potential of these vacant stores, and the potential of this collection of people willing to work at improving the city’s image, the better for all of us.

They’ve got 25 media artists, actors, videographers, cooks, bakers, gardeners, and storytellers scheduled to appear (even labeling the participants as such seems inadequate, they’re all innovators). The participants come from all across Ontario, as well as Montreal, Vancouver, and Detroit.

They’ll be offering free food programs like The Breakroom (a profit-free cafe and lunch) and Portraits, Pies and Peace (Sunday afternoon discussions, and sharing of homemade pie, plus some drawing and painting).

Communication-based projects like The Peoples Museum & Fabulations de Windsor (bilingual community-based story telling and story gathering) and Talk To Strangers (a text-based outdoor window installation) will satisfy the word-smith in all of us.

And for those with a keen sense for textiles, The Sweater Factory (a process-based performance involving the unraveling and re-assembly of sweaters) and the Swap Shop (a clothing swap of used, good-condition items) will keep you coming back to see what’s new.

There’s something for everyone. And even if you’re not a fan of performance art or pie, the chance to see this project come to fruition shouldn’t be missed. This is social change in action. And really, who doesn’t like pie?

Here’s the entire schedule, in all its glory:

Participants Dates Project Description
Daragh Sankey
(Toronto, ON)
June 10 – 13

June 17 – 20

June 25 – July 11

How To Make a Documentary: Live documentation of the residency in its entirety/video editing workshops.
Jolie Inthavong
(Windsor, ON)
June 11 –17

The Breakroom: A Profit-Free Cafe and Lunch.
Eric Cheung
(Toronto, ON)
June 11 – 21

Creation of an interior urban green park.
Andrea Carvalho
(Montreal, QC)
June 11 – 21

A series of actions and tactics challenging Windsor-specific Non-Places.
Julie René de Cotret & Jefferson Campbell-Cooper
(Guelph, ON)
June 11 – 23 The Peoples Museum & Fabulations de Windsor: Bilingual community-based story telling and story gathering.
Sara French
(Vancouver, BC)
June 11 – July 8 Norman Eberstein: An interactive, live performance involving surveillance cameras and a security guard at work.
Nicole Grinstead
(Montreal, QC)
June 13 – 19 Swap Shop.
Jodi Green
(Windsor, ON)
June 14 – 25 The Sweater Factory: process-based performance involving the unraveling and re-assembly of sweaters.
(Department of Unusual Certainties)
(Toronto, ON)
June 15 – July 11 Storefront Success Stories: Based on admiration for the local shopkeeper, the project aims to create new connections, knowledge, and theories between Windsor’s different businesses, people, and sites of productivity.
Kero (Windsor, ON / Detroit, MI) June 17 – 20 An interactive motion-sensored installation engaging outside pedestrians and interior viewers.
Terre Chartrand, Garth Rennie, Zoey Heath, Phil Beaudoin
(Windsor, ON & Kitchener / Waterloo, ON)
June 20 – 27

A visual exchange between Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor: a ride down the highway dialog through photographic and sound experience.
Lea Bucknell
(BC/London, ON)
June 22 – July 1

June 30, 7pm (opening)

Community-shaped, Interactive Interior garden space.
Thea Jones
(Montreal, QC)
June 23 – 26

Multimedia installation using process-based research of the Detroit-Windsor bridge and tunnel which cross the Detroit River.
Thom Provost
(Windsor, ON)
June 24 – 28

Storefront projection installation using Google Street View stills of Windsor.
Denise St Marie
(Toronto, ON)
June 25 – 27 Talk To Strangers: a text-based outdoor window installation.
Ayesha Drouillard & Nicolette Westfall
(Windsor, ON)
June 27, 28, July 4, 5 (workshops), July 7-8 (show) IMAGINATION LAB: walk-in art workshops for kids accompanied by their caregivers.
Merry Ellen Scully Mosna
(Windsor, ON)
June 28 – 29 Portraits, Pies and Peace: Sunday afternoon discussions, and sharing of homemade pie, plus some drawing and painting.
Logan Davis
(Windsor, ON)
June 28 – July 1 Interactive Light Board Window Installation.
Robin Fitzsimons
(Toronto, ON)
June 28 – July 2

Donation-based in-store training to improve gambling skills – geared towards subverting the economy in Windsor.
Doodle Heads: Elizabeth Prosser & Nicolette Westfall
(Windsor, ON)
June 29, 30 (workshops),

July 1-July 3 (show)

Graffiti Workshops and Showing.
Brad Tinmouth
(Toronto, ON)
June 30 – July 2 Pro-Click Factory: digital, interactive open-mic nights. An evening lecture and their techniques for cultivating the best YouTube videos.
Laura Paolini
(Toronto, ON)
July 1 – 11

Bell Payphone Labs: PL1999 and GMBLL. Payphone intervention workshops.
And And Collective
(Waterloo, ON)
July 3 – 11

The Amalgamated City of W: Imagined merging of Windsor and Waterloo through campaign office meetings, consultations and presentations.
Lee Rodney
(Windsor, ON)
July 5 – 8

Border Bookmobile: A reading station.
Emily Colombo
(Sault Ste. Marie, ON)
July 5 – 10

Multiple public Interventions based on analysis of debt-accumulation, poverty, city-beautification, and community engagement.

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