ΒΛΟΓ

Week 003

Vessel is a place for building better futures.

That's one of the lines we're starting to settle on for what we want Vessel to be, and we met this week to discuss initial funding and organising of the space, a multipurpose studio and workshop in downtown Athens. We're going to document this process here, in what will hopefully be an ongoing series of sometimes-weekly notes.

We're putting together a presentation which introduces the space and the programme, focussed on three things: Ecology, Technology, and Education.

  • Ecology: The ongoing global emergency of environmental damage, biodiversity loss, and climate change is the greatest challenge we face as a society, as a species, and as a planet. Our capacity for care, attention, and co-education will determine how this crisis unfolds.
  • Technology: New technologies such as solar power and networked computing are fundamental to our ability to reshape our energy and information systems, and care for our environment. Just as necessary are traditional skills of carpentry, husbandry, engineering, and building, and the personal technologies of health, fitness, and well-being.
  • Education: Those with the broadest knowledges and skills, the most open and enquiring minds, and the most access to information and ideas, are those best equipped to forge a more sustainable tomorrow.

With this in mind, we're starting to outline a programme inspired in part by three ideas; pace layers, solarpunk, and critical thinking.

  • Pace layers: a vision of inter-related strata of activity and context, which is applicable to activism, architecture, and education. Different parts of the programme move at different speeds to engage with different problems, processes, techniques, and solutions, which also serve to inspire and motivate one another. Derived from Stewart Brand (who I have issues with, but it's a start).
  • Solarpunk: a speculative programme for answering and emboding the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” There's a good introduction here.
  • Critical thinking: this is the term I use to cover the combination of a theoretical and critical programme alongside constructive skills, so that participants combine self-education with personal development and empowerment, and develop the capability to share what they’ve learned and what they can do with our community. It encompasses a range of practices from visual art to activism, and practical education to social events, which provide direct skills to participants, encourage participation in and democratisation of communities, and leave a lasting and generative legacy. Need to think more about how to describe and communicate this.

Over the next couple of weeks we're going to finalise this proposal, and start talking to potential supporters. We're also looking at organisational models and building the tools we need to communicate and organise. More soon.

James

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