Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I just got back from the HABITAT STUDIO at Solar 1  , on the East River. I was going over the various events we want to schedule for the habitat studio there during the next few weeks. Including E. Odin Cathcart taking a short term residency there for the second week in August.
A Shed Building Workshop ,probably end of August with hands on techniques to build your own  back yard studio . And a couple more things we want to confirm with others . 

Whilst I was there I needed to repair part of the side of the Shed working photos ,which given the location I was very pleased with how well it was all holding up and looking pretty good ! Just as I was finishing up a fellow came up to chat . He remarked that he'd been enjoying the project and also showed me a photo he 'd taken on his cell phone . He went on to tell me he'd gone to the website and had been taken by the references to Tiny Homes, on the Shed working site .And had enjoyed looking at the various other ingenious small spaces folks had built and designed. He continued how especially in the city space is a premium and we can all do with making the most out of less !!     Thanks Chris , that exchange was one of those quality moments that make this project and some of the material we are discussing worth it all .  Chris also mentioned that he took other opportunities to talk about the various websites and to show other people the photo of the studio at 23rd Street . 

Infact each time I visit one of the Habitat studios around the valley and in the city I usually have a moment or exchange with someone about the project which is similar to this exchange
and is a shared moment of quality which makes a lot of the work well worth it !!

What's funny I 've been thinking about some of the topics that Lewis Hyde discusses in his book, "The Gift" recently and I think this sharing of creativity is key to this type of exchange. There is also the recent discovery of janitors that had set up a "special" place to hang out in, with in the State Assembly in Albany. Their own little habitat studio ? Whether or not you applaud their particular creativity and how it revealed itself, is not the point BUT I do think it indicates the notion that underlies this project of the need for personal space which is not
predetermined .(?) People engage in vast projects to add a bit more space to their house and are surprised that it doesn't always seem to warrant the cost .  Could have maybe built that shed in the yard . As a friend said , his grand dad would take himself off to the Pout House to just have a pout and a smoke. A house out side the House . 

Space has become a very interesting topic of late with a friend who just got back from Mumbai. Bombay for those who haven't looked at a map lately....    He'd been asked to visit with a view to making a film about Dharavi ,the 'slum' in Mumbai (and the subject of escape from in the movie "Slumdog Millionaire". ) What he and I find interesting are the many attitudes to the conditions with which people discuss the "quality " of living because of the lack of space. Infact he has been quoting Ivan Illich's many books about the proliferation of middle class values on the rest of the world by the West .  As though we were exporting tomes for greater happiness ?
What we're suffering from in the West more than not is disconnect, even given the prolific number of electronic interfaces we have which SELL on the premise of how in touch we will become.

Its moments such as the one with Chris today which are lacking in the normalcy of most peoples lives which don't come about because of a phone or email . It s real exchange , moments of quality that  ideas about impulses and thinking outside the box are shared in person. How much might we learn from Dharavi if we rethought the value of really being connected ?

Would we want to put any more people in disconnected hi-rise dwellings or a shed with better sanitation and running water ?

Talk later   SD

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