“We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return, prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms.”– H. D. Thoreau
Artists Vito Acconci and Sophie Calle followed people (for Calle, until someone confronted her). At one time, Francis Alys walked into unfamiliar territory guarded by dogs and at another, pushed a block of ice around Mexico City until it melted. Paolo Nazereth walked from Sao Paolo, Brazil to New York, NY in a pair of flip-flops (he needed to see what was in between.)
Whether to execute a work or to just get out of the house, walking can provide great source material or at least allow a moment for quiet reflection on the place you’re in.
One foot goes forward, then the other. A pattern develops. Eventually, after doing this many times, the distance stretches and your body is some place else. When you’re out walking somewhere, there’s time to see the space around you and even stop and approach the things that interest you most. With the advent of Instagram, people can post a photo of that thing that no one else has ever noticed. When you’re out walking, it’s as if that little thing you noticed was just for you…until you share it with the universe.
I rode my bike over the Rio Salado on 24th Street and saw a white crane wading in the shallow water. While out on a morning run, I navigate the back streets of South Phoenix before anyone is awake, running down dirt embankments going the wrong way down a one-way street. While walking through the grove of trees next to St. Mary’s Basilica during late summer, I become inundated with the singing of cicadas who seem to only gather in that safe, cool(er) spot.
Walking, running, biking—they are the processes that put our bodies in direct contact with the world around us. For artists, it can make one aware of how systems fit together, materials blend, colors merge and contrast, how light hits an object, how people move around each other and how every unit functions like a giant collage of complex, moving objects. For anyone else, it can give one a moment to slow down and take stock of the landscape, urban or otherwise, and how it just feels good to be able to move oneself forward in it.
“the rich potential relations between thinking and the body…the way walking reshapes the world by mapping it, treading paths into it, encountering it” — R. Solnit
Ten years ago, you may not have seen anyone walking the streets of Downtown Phoenix on a summer evening. But now, 110º doesn’t seem to stop anyone. This past Friday, as the temperature reached 111º right around 6pm, a bevy of Phoenicians were stepping out of air conditioned cars, houses and buildings to begin instantly sweating on the hot sidewalks. It has become standard practice now to throw heat exhaustion to the wind in lieu of walking the streets to socialize, see art and experience something new.
What was once underrated and scoffed at as being foolish, boring and even dangerous is beginning to be common practice in Downtown. There are more places now to walk to but there has never been a lack of places to walk. Within every landscape are smaller and smaller bits that pull and drag you in if you let them. While out walking, a person can let that different, sensorial world back in to admit that there is something more here than generalizations formed from the view of a car window.
Interested in the creative mind meet-up suggested in When Brains Collide? The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, and the discussion will start off with the most basic of creative problems: “In a Rut.”
Artists, writers, musicians, performers…come prepared to discuss the project you’re working on and how it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Or, maybe you’ve felt uninspired to get started on anything?
Every creative person has been there at one point or another and sometimes all you need is a little nudge forward. Be prepared to also provide suggestions, encouragement and an open mind to the different ways that people work.
We will try to keep the meeting to one hour. So bring your coffee snobbery and your rutted self for us to commiserate, encourage and move each other forward.
If you go
What: When Brains Collide Meet-up
Date: Saturday, June 29
Time: 12 noon
Where: Cartel Coffee, 1 N. 1st St. (corner of Washington and 1st St.)
Subject for the next meeting: “Things Don’t Work”, technological, media and computer problems in a work in progress.
The City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department invites the community to provide input on the future of infill development.
Do you have experience in Infill Development?
Has Infill Development affected your neighborhood?
Ever thought about improvements for the city process?
We want your input!
Phoenix has formed an advisory group to review our rules and regulations for Infill Development and provide some recommendations for streamlining. We received so much interest in participating in the infill discussion that we had to find a way for many folks to participate.
To that end we have scheduled a number of public meetings for folks to share their experience and suggestions regarding the Infill Development Process. Staff will take feedback from these sessions to provide guidance and direction for the Infill Advisory Group.
To facilitate the discussions, we created targeted sessions for design professionals, contractors, developers/property owners, and neighborhood/community representatives. Of course, anyone can come to any meeting they like, but the Infill Advisory Group thought it would be more productive to group folks by profession, background and interests.
To get involved and share your suggestions regarding the Infill Development Process, please attend one of the public meetings listed below and/or submit your comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
Where: All sessions are free to attend and will be held in the Historic A.E. England Building (between 1st and Central avenues, just north of Van Buren Street)
Questions? Call 602-495-5411
|Multiple sessions available; pick one or more that apply to you.|
|Thursday June 6th||8am-10am||Design Professionals|
|Tuesday June 11th||3pm-5pm||Developers/Property & Bus Owners|
|Wednesday June 12th||8am-10am||Contractors|
|Friday June 14th||8am-10am||Neighborhood/Community Reps|
|Friday June 14th||3pm-5pm||Open|
Many artists spend an inordinate amount of time thinking when, really, they want to change the world. They are something like maniacal world leaders but without all the guns, killing and domination. They are sketching, writing, researching, reading, watching, futzing. As mentioned a few weeks ago, this time alone to brood and develop can be incredibly useful and productive. But, sometimes, at some point, an artist might come to a point where she’s stuck and doesn’t know how to move ahead.
A good, complex work doesn’t usually get there by coming up with an initial idea and immediately executing it. You can’t say you came up with an invention by just talking about it. You have to actually go through the process of making the thing. In order to avoid artwork becoming gimmicky or only concepts that you throw around at a party after a few drinks, a little more work is involved.
There are a lot of these ideas that float around the community—a lot of “what ifs.” But “what if” these ideas and projects began to take form and “what if” there was a source someone could go to get out of a rut, hear some suggestions and be encouraged to move on to the next stage?
Enough Talk, More Action
I’d like to propose a series of discussion/brainstorming sessions for the downtown Phoenix area. It’s been my experience that sometimes, people just need a little push. This could be by sitting back and letting someone talk out an idea or by bombarding them with questions. Call it a selfish act but I like to see interesting things happening around me. I like being part of them. I like to think and help others work out ideas.
Each month topics will rotate from something like text-based works to art using technology to creative computer hacking to new approaches with sculptural materials. People interested in participating will sign up or congregate via a website and then be prepared to talk for five minutes in front of a group about the project. The focus of the meet-up is to talk more about the work and less about ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the area, an undergrad at ASU or an experienced artist with national exposure—the point of the group is to use the collective power of each other’s brains to come up with a solution or suggestion on where to take the work next.
Think of this less as social networking and more as project developing. There are plenty of outlets in Phoenix for social meet-ups of like-mindeds. The art openings on First and Third Fridays end up being a place where artists and other creative people can mix and relax but when can we sit down and discuss the details and the ugly truth of actually making a work possible? Somehow, maybe, we’re holding back.
This can be a venue to voice new work that an artist isn’t so sure about—something that functions outside a comfort zone. Artists who usually work in paint but have been toying around with the idea of a web-based project could come to a meeting and solicit suggestions from others who regularly and fluently work with the web.
Meetings would stay on track with a moderator to make sure that everyone can be heard and no one monopolizes the time (we know how artists like to talk). Guest artists, curators and writers will be invited to participate in the discussion in an effort to bring in an outside voice with a different perspective. The direction of the conversation would be constructive, direct and candid. Be prepared for someone to cry. I’ve seen it happen before… or perhaps I was the one doing the crying.
If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in some time in the near future or if you feel that a meeting like this will help push creation in Phoenix to a new level, please “like” this article, use the comments section here to voice your support or email me at email@example.com.
Some name suggestions for the group: Clash of the Artists, What Happens When Brains Collide (WHWBC), P-Art-Y (you decide what the P and Y stand for), We Make Artists Cry, Combustion, ThinkAct.
The Hotel Palomar Phoenix opened to much fanfare last year. As the centerpiece of CityScape in downtown Phoenix, the newest of Kimpton’s hotels promised to deliver a special experience to their guests, while never taking their eye off of the locals. Their “Art in Motion” theme seemed apropos for both visitors and residents who take pride in their local culture.
A year later, it’s difficult to imagine downtown without it. From the energy of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails to the lounge-y “living room” lobby and cosmopolitan rooftop LUSTRE Bar, Hotel Palomar has established a comfortable corner of our core.
But, ask anyone and they’ll tell you it’s the people who make it shine. Meet a few who work behind the scenes, through the lens of photographer Chris Loomis and art director Duc Liao.
Want to join in on the celebration with a summer staycation? Check out the fun stay and play promotions that coincide with the Hotel Palomar’s first anniversary.