Walking with Community Architectures:
Space Kinaesthetics in Art and Food Cooking Society
NOTE!For this workshop participants are encouraged to bring and share stories, fables, recipes, rituals, sayings, and objects and crafts related to bread-making and consumption items (bread covers, bread stamps, grains, etc.) rooted in their own cultural background or familiar contexts.
The workshop “Walking with Collective Architectures” explores in a trans-disciplinary perspective three major chronotopes and processes: 1) walking as a way to shape and examine our tangible and intangible environment, and be shaped by it in the recyprocal process; 2) “community” as denoting the common, the shared public spaces where relations of power and asymmetry define the inequality but also dynamism of “sharing” and coexisting in public spaces; and 3) “architectures” as the physically built environment and how it affects social relations, where in the particular case we will explore the space of the Bulgarian community cultual centers called chitalishte, walking through but also “with” their physical architecture in order to understand how it structures the architecture of cultural and social interactions.
The workshop has a trans-disciplinary character, since it exaimnes the broad notion of “community building/sense of community” as the sphere of intersections among a variety of fields, both local and trans-national. Our methodology of walking through community architectures is an approach that combines action and research to produce a polyvalent vision of what and how impacts the way people make meaning and in particular connect to a notion of “community” and “belonging” through their participation, as well as non-participation, in collective amateur/voluntary arts activities.
The questions we will be asking while walking through and with the community art buildings will strive to disentangle the factors that constitute sustainability in social transformations, from ecological and social justice to environmental action, cultural and biodiversity, etc.through the means of communication and engagement of community arts.
Two evening workshops (19-21:30), 2hours and a half long + dinner at the community cultural center
First workshop: first ASSiST evening, August 21st, 19-20:30: the group will move to the city center to walk around the building of one of Gabrovo’s community cultural centers (chitalishte). There the participants will engage with the multimedia interactive presentation of different community architectures for the arts from around the world (based on personal research and work and examples from the I3C associated networks) as we discuss bringing a trans-disciplinary perspective on the issue of how space and architecture animate or impede social interaction. The cases will be grounded in the concept of heritage kinaesthetics (Savova 2009, Anthropological Quarterly) to denote the various forms in which people animate the “aesthetics” or the simple “looks” of things, places, and social relations through the activation of the senses and the shift from "aesthetic" to moving "kinaesthetic" in the everyday sensory maps, from smell to taste and urban walking.
The methodology will build on Andersen's “Talking while Walking” research technique and develop an approach I denote as the Eating while Walking methodology, exploring the phenomenology of “eating public space” and how this indigestion of reality connects to or disconnects us from the surrounding ecology? Each participant will be carrying along a loaf of local round bread (pitka purlenka) which each one will dip in different substances (honey, salt, local spices, etc.) to examine how the architecture and the diverse tastes and smells of the community cultural center affect people’s participation in its activities? What are the elements that can make the place and the house more welcoming and open, warmer and inspiring, enabling people to connect to the house on a more regular, deeper level?
2) Second workshop: second ASSiST evening, August 22nd, 19-20:30: evening collective bread-making as a social sculture (and dinner) at the Bread House Cultural Center (http://www.international3c.org/breadhouses.html, www.bread-art-house.org) created by me (Nadezhda Savova) in cooperation with the local community ; the Bread House was recognized by Slow Food International as a model for a holistic education centered on the crossroad between food, art, and the senses; over the two evenings and our walks across community architectures, we will examine two distinct models of a community cultural centers, with different architectures (and possibilities for walking and exploration) and management, operations, but also with distinct ways of engaging the senses and society: the first one, through the size of its spaces (spacious rooms and overall building) and second one with its smells (of fresh bread and fire in a small space).
The methodology of discussion in this last part is Kneading while Talking methodology as all participants will engage in collective bread-making around a large roundtable at the center and will fill the baking time with discussions and improvised forms of art to understand how people engage in such activitites on a regular weekly basis and what collective bread-making means in daily life and as a way leading to sustainable, ecological and more creative living.
All participants will be requested to bring along (from their countries) a small notebook with white (blank, not striped) pages and use the notebook as a tool to document in images and writing their experiences of eating while walking and kneading while talking. The workshop participants are encouraged to bring and share stories, fables, recipes, rituals, and sayings related to bread-making from their cultural background.