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Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

Minneapolis Utopia

July 30th, 2010 by Clare Butcher
Walker Open Field

Walker Open Field


I’m in Minneapolis right now and have been anxiously anticipating my first encounter with the the Walker Art Centre. Having followed their programme, blogging, Herzog & de Meuron’s architectural feats – it was time for the personal experience. For the whole summer this summer, their public programming has taken a major risk, calling it an experiment in public space, and basically “loaned” their gigantic backyard space to museum users to do with what they will – creatively. The Walker Open Field project creates a kind of “common” where anyone from violin students to yoga instructors to anarchist reading groups can meet and share knowledge and time. I thought – nice idea in theory, but would it really work in practice? And it seems to. With very little control from the top. A simple kiosk at the front entrance tells you the daily programme (which you can also find detailed online) and you can also pick up some reading material, board games or an iPad from inside the museum. One local chef has also set up a grill bar serving veggie burgers and sauerkraut with local beers. Idyllic.

Well, maybe not. One group who are participating in the Open Field is a collective called, Red76 who are known for setting up Anywhere/Anyplace/Academies (AAA) using surplus building, shipping, storage materials. And this idea of recycling also applies to ideas – their discursive programme is entitled ‘Surplus Seminars’ where they revise old ideas in new ways, giving an ephemeral, do-it-yourself (truly American!) context.


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