http://owa-usa.org/newsletter.php?v=482#1394

Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2020


At The table : Carol Mancke
by Carol Mancke


During fifteen years in London, I had transitioned from full-time employment as an architect to running a MArch program at a London University while developing an art and architecture collaborative practice. Eventually I hoped to open a public-facing project space for serious and playful research into alternative ways of being, thinking, and doing together. Moving back to the bay area in 2015 made this a real possibility for the first time and in the spring of 2018, I opened machinaloci space* in a shopfront on 63rd Street near Adeline in Berkeley.

Usually, at the center of machinaloci space is a ten-foot diameter modular table. Table 15 is the second large table I have built in the last five year. Finding it nearly impossible to talk about important issues with people who do not share my views, I wondered how I might approach this problem through an art/architecture practice. What could I do to try out ways to bring ideologically charged matters of concern to a table for temperate consideration? At the same time, I was thinking about something Hannah Arendt wrote in The Human Condition. She posited that our common world, made up of all the material and immaterial things we humans make together, is like a table that both gathers us together and keeps from falling over each other. Furthermore, this common world only becomes a shared reality when everyone can see the same identical thing, in all its different aspects, at the same time. Being rather literal minded, I wondered: if a table can stand in for the whole of human artifice, and if it is round and you and I are gathered with others around it, then our different positions would allow each of us to see things placed on it from different perspectives, at the same time. I wondered if I could I activate this metaphor. By experimenting with different kinds of gatherings around such a table, could I uncover some ideas for working with disagreement creatively?

Since 2017, Table 15 has hosted eleven public events. These have ranged from intimate gatherings at machinaloci space to a three-part public artwork, The Land and Me, commissioned by the City of Santa Rosa that culminated in a participatory performance event involving more than sixty people.** Also, in 2019, Machina Loci launched The Window Project @machinaloci space what I hope will be a series of commissioned artworks that transform the shopfront windows into an interface between public and private that contributes to the local conversation. The first of these is COMMON WEALTH, an installation by London-based artist Nicole Vinokur.

As I write this, machinaloci space is empty and Table 15 sits waiting until we can re-learn how to sit comfortably elbow-to-elbow in our shared world, to play, think, make, and dream together again. Once this is possible, machinaloci space will open its doors for:

At the table on market day : informal conversations about art and place Tuesday afternoons 3:30-5:00 (South Berkeley Farmer's Market)

Altered Territory : an exhibition and series of events developed by BulbLab, a loose collective of artists, dancers, poets, and designers that use the Albany Bulb as a field research station for creativity.***

The Window Project @ machinaloci space round 2: an installation by Adrian Arias.

It is always great to see fellow OWADP members at Machina Loci events. For more about Machina Loci visit www.machinaloci.com.

To find out what is happening at machinaloci space follow Machina Loci at https://www.facebook.com/Machina-Loci-1387887674774738/ and or write to me at carol@machinaloci.com to join the mailing list.

*Pronounced MAH-kee-nah-LOH-kee. I made up the name Machina Loci from ‘making’ or ‘machine’ and ‘locus’ or ‘place’. It can mean many different things like making places, place device, a place for making perhaps.
**The Land and Me was created in collaboration with artist/educator/writer Trena Noval.
***Curated by Susan Moffat and others

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