What does the D Center Convo, The Resilient City, and The India Report by Charles and Ray Eames have in common? Well a Lota.
In 1958 the couple was asked to investigate Indian cultural needs and recommend a direction for a school of design for small industry. A industrial explosion threaten quality in design and goods production.The Lota Pot was praised by the design couple for its simplicity, efficiency, and beauty. This water carrying vessels brilliance was a result of exploring and solving the problems of transporting and storing liquid, however these questions were solved over a period of time by generations of people. The Eames’s goal was to recreate this process but at a industrial pace.
There answer was to bring in multiple design disciplines, small and large industry, official and non official, which they would establish a board to explore and research all needs in design. The result would not deteriorate or gentrify the communities established values and quality of their “Standard of Living”(India Report pg6) but enhance it overall.
The D Center talk
The Resilient City featured 3 speakers Deana Haggag Director of the Contemporary Museum, Rebecca Chan, Program Director of Station North Arts & Entertainment District, and Elliot Rauh, Managing Director of Single Carrot Theatre. Each of the speakers vocalized their love of the city and the desire to bring beauty and art to the existing community.
The Contemporary is a nomadic museum because they feel that a “audience is everywhere”. Director Deana Haggag looked outside of Baltimore for inspiration of how to accomplish this and found several cities who were utilizing a traveling art installation model. A model was put in place from these influences that fit the Baltimore community needs.
Below is a art install presented by The Contemporary. A work by video artist Dara Birnbaum who is known for challenging gender bias. The interesting thing aboutthe placement of the piece is that it is adjacent to The Block, a baltimore strip club landmark.
Station North Arts & Entertainment District is responsible for the influx of murals around the city. Located in a old carryout which sold chicken has appropriately honored it by calling it the “chicken box.”
Adopting the vernacular of the city shows the commitment o f the artist to beautify without gentrifying. They hope to expand the district and apply further improvement by giving the city vacant lot into a functional place for art and entertainment.
Single Carrot Theatre are a troupe of actors who were looking for a permanent home to produce theatrical works for communities and found they were greeted with open arms by the Baltimore art scene. But not only did they want to establish a theater but make it access-able to community members no matter your income. Single Carrot hopes to continue to ask locals “and” what else can we do? And strive to make an impact with these combination of goals.
As a home owner in the city, I as well as my neighboring home owners struggle with wanting to improve our neighborhood without losing the faces of the people who are our neighborhood. The misconception is that people with the lowest of income are destroying the neighborhood, instead of looking at the truth that any person from any price point can have no reverence for their living space. A neighborhood improves and it is beautified but becomes uninteresting and uniform. Why? The little old lady living off her late husbands pension can no longer afford to live there. However, she was the one who maintained the daffodils in the painted tire planters the block is known for. It was so refreshing to know that it is possible to keep Charm City charming. The artist from the talk like the Eames took a look at what existed and saw it works but needs updates and improvements to keep its resilience. That resilience comes from the lesson we have learned from something created by past generation and the next generation putting the latest knowledge to it. I learned that a group outside of the city homeowner is interested in making sure our city may change shape but maintains what we love about it, and that’s wonderful.
Charles and Ray Eames, “The India Report,” NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DESIGN. April 1958, Designed & Printed at National Institute of Design
“Top 15 Shows of the Contemporary Museum,” Baltimore City Paper Editorial Galleries, last modified December 3,2013, accessed March 6, 2014,http://photos.citypaper.com/index.php/top-15-shows-of-the-contemporary-museum/#5
Mehta, Avnish, “Introduction to the Lota”(Master Programme PSSD 2008/2009),http://issuu.com/avnish.mehta/docs/lota_design_exercise