Thoughts in the night from japan
I think all there is, is human relationships born of different contexts. Some are created by people who get to know each other in an open context with no particular requirements to interact in a certain way, but through mutual respect, interest and care develop a connection - something like this is called friendship. I think the lines are blurry and the best professional relationships and romantic ones are born of the same conditions without pressure or hierarchy. It makes sense that as old professional silos breakdown and young people have more agency to mobilise they will start to create things out of groups of people they have shared interests with - friends.
Assemble was formed out of a collective project that aimed to do something, ourselves (build, develop, create, design, program, run). We shared the experience and skills we had and used each others energy and enthusiasm to make a project that was a social public thing in the city. It was a hybrid, a collage of multiple people working away fairly autonomously. I always talk about it as kind of like falling in love, totally intoxicating, changed the way I looked at everything. the way I experienced the world around me. I think the appetite for political applications of our work is very diverse within the group. generally people just want to feel excited, like they’re learning and have self-determination.
The aspects that were so rewarding and successful from the first project - open access process, no hierarchy…, DIY / learning through doing, publicly focused (‘the public’ as client) -became post-rationalised and drawn out as vague guiding principles for what we collectively thought (or at the very least spoke about) was important to inform a practice moving forwards.
I think alternative economies are fascinating and the work I do within Assemble is building on similar ideas. Emotional labour, respect, relationships… I think they have enormous potential, who knows how fast they can bring about change.
I think they have enormous potential, who knows how fast they can bring about change. We have recently been doing some work relating to Elinor Ostrom’s work on common pool resource management. I think these ideas are totally fundamental to the idea of collective, and how you can be effective. How your internal relations then reflect outwards through your work.
I think our practice, where it is interesting, is fundamentally interested in architecture as self-determination - that is why we set up Blackhorse workshop, Baltic street adventure playground, and originally the idea behind Granby workshop. The level at which these ideas are realised in reality varies greatly at different points through time.
I am very interested in ideas of complexity and the fluid relationship between words/titles/names and activities/practice/actions. The idea of human practice is key I think. Understanding that we perpetuate the structures we work within and use. Where are the reading selections from in the document you sent me? I would like to read more…
I’m currently on holiday in Japan. I have been reading a book musing on the cultural context and colour theory of Black, DT Susuki’s book on zen’s influence on japanese culture, and one detailing the history of quarries in Yorkshire. I have also been carrying pedagogy of the oppressed, a guide to non-violent communication and collection of poetry, none of which I have yet managed to progress. Make of that what you will! (other than that I really need to get a kindle)
A couple of leads relevant to ideas of self-determination and alternative economies: