This workshop is about making imagination tangible, sharable and situated within lived spaces. Many of the real world issues that individuals and communities are struggling with can be understood and situated within the logics of space and place; issues of health, environment, education and so on can all be mapped onto local geographies, connecting them with local contexts and realities. Monuments from the Future is a simple, playful way of intervening within familiar spaces and places by constructing fanciful artifacts of the civic imagination from low cost materials and without need for prior experience or skill in model making or fabrication.
The experience begins with a simple place-based observation. Working in pairs, participants spend 20 minutes simply observing a nearby public place; what is the environment like? Who is in this place and what are they doing? After making observations, participants compare notes and perspectives. They then work in groups to pick a place that they think would benefit from some kind of intervention; maybe helping to unlock some underutilized potential of the space or to bring something to the place that is currently lacking. Participants then use simple materials - cardboard, construction paper, staples, glue, yarn - to build their artifact and place it in their space with a placard explaining its significance. A Monument from the Future. Other narrative devices could be employed to inform the artifact choices; messages from the future, from another planet, an alternate past etc.
Ideally the artifact becomes a point of connection and conversation for people within the space. If it is not possible to leave the artifact installed in the place for more than the duration of the workshop, participants can still document its existence. The goal is to make visible, tangible connections between imagination and real spaces. To create a sense of agency and ability to shape the constructed environment.
Beyond physical construction of the artifacts, this workshop can also be adapted to 3D modeling and printing as well as VR or AR applications. Physical models can be documented using the Google Streetview app which has the ability to create photospheres that can be added to publicly viewable maps and experienced in VR viewers or on smartphones.