SmallBox is partnering with local city-building champions, We Are City, to curate 2x interactive installations for the upcoming [SUMMIT] event to be held on Thursday, August 22nd at the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. This blog was originally published on the Tues. July 16th We Are City [BRIEFING] to help define the concept of subterranean placemaking.
A few weeks back, Matt Hale published a We Are City Think piece on how his love for Skateboarding transformed every urban spacial interaction into a search for the perfect “line” and a killer new “spot” to skate. The way I've come to think of it is that skateboarding is as much defined by the act as it is the place. The nature of repurposing abandoned urban design into a concrete pommel horse just scratches the surface of how placemaking has been utilized by subcultures for decades.
Urban farming. Turning empty lots into bountiful pastures that create educational opportunities for communities of people. While not underground, this is one of the best examples of subterranean placemaking that is growing support from city governments nation-wide.
Murals. Covering an urban canvas with an expressive work of art, often times using spray paint (AKA: graffiti). The street art movement has been around for decades for good reason: there’s lots of urban decay to reimagine.
Galleries & performance spaces. Breathing life into an abandoned building in a forgotten neighborhood to create progressive art and events. The Big Car Service Center for Contemporary Culture & Community is a perfect local example of using an abandoned building to connect the local art community to a culturally mixed neighborhood (and vice versa!).
These examples of restoring vibrancy to remnant places have shaped the culture of Indianapolis beyond the original creators may have ever been able to dream. The outcome is a city that has embraced creative placemaking from the top down yielding completely unique interactive installations like the Cultural Trail and the new psuedo band shell in the heart of Fountain Square. And this is still just the beginning.
The practical application. Just so happens that SmallBox is looking for a few creative harmonizers to apply their dreams to the We Are City [SUMMIT] with a $1,000 budget for a creative installation or interactive art project.