2015: Creating Public Art with Up-Cycled Materials
5 days workshop by:
17–20 March 2015
The workshop Creating Public Art with Up-Cycled Materials was comprised of two elements—theoretical and practical.
The theoretical component allowed participants to explore and discuss different typologies of public art—autonomous art, integrated art, guerrilla art, reaction art, street art, etc. The program also addressed the study of the appropriate materials needed to create outdoor public art along with the relevant conditions with regards to safety, durability, maintenance and the budget of a proposed artwork.
The practical component focused on the conception and design of prototypes that are suitable for the Egyptian context and capable of being realised by using waste as a material for public installations.
The workshop involved sixteen young participants (two men and 14 women), from various backgrounds (artists, art students, architects, designers, photographers, entrepreneurs), who were selected through an open call for applications.
Day One, 17 March: The trainers introduced the participants to the methodology for designing and conceptualising recycled-art interventions for public spaces, while also understanding its practical and symbolic value, with reference to interventions that have been realised worldwide and the participants’ own practices.
Day Two, 18 March: Trainers presented and analysed a selection of locations around Cairo. Participants suggested and debated ideas of feasible interventions, highlighting the possibilities, challenges and disadvantages of each typology of place. This led to the practical approach to public spaces, where the participants sketched fast-concept proposals for a chosen location—a garden, an open space, a side-walk, an empty wall, etc.—and engaged in critical discussions, questions and confrontation.
Day Three, 19 March: Participants worked in groups using the available materials (including fabric, plastic bottles and boxes, cans, paper, etc.) to build prototypes for possible final artworks. Overtaking the difficulties in handling nonconventional materials, each group collaborated and built interesting 3D-scale models. These included samples for seating spots for public gardens, a maze for open spaces and a wall installation.
Day Four, 20 March: Trainers focused on a given sample location: a bus stop. This allowed the participants to confront their approaches to a common, everyday spot in Cairo, with a shared and fixed frame. The participants were enthusiastically engaged in this project and discussed their ideas with the trainers. Working in groups, the participants realised 3D-scale models of their proposals, using the available materials.