The idea of enabling carries into the Long Time, No See? project, led by Keith Armstrong, which I am currently contributing to as a guest. Long Time, No See? is an online and installation artwork where the public generates a vision for Australia’s long-term future. This project connects with various communities at early National Broadband Network release sites, of which Aspley is one. My role is to act as a community catalyst and to design participation. In this borrowing from Enabling Suburbs, my process for Long Time, No See? is grounded and field oriented, partial and embedded.The objective of the process is something like: ‘a community of change enabled to develop new myths and metaphors through the transformative dynamics of social process, artmaking and subjectification (re)directed towards futuring as part of the Long Time No See project’.
Drawing on my collaboration in the Enabling Suburbs project, together with the work developed through Placing and Changescaping, there are attempts at designing an enabling process, trying to bring tools into play, trying to rethink social systems and exchanges, enabling social learning (in the context of an artwork or artmaking – poiesis). Manzini talks about re-designing the structures, institutions, and processes that shape the ways we live in an effort to replace consumer culture. I don’t believe you can do that until you can imagine something other than consumer culture, create a new myth/metaphor for civilisation. And you can’t do that until you have looked deeply into your own story, your own place and your own mental maps. So being in place, on the ground or in the field requires a methodology that is about enabling these stories to emerge and about enaging what Guattari describes as the ‘three ecologies’. I’m tinkering with Causal Layered Analysis as a kind of myth busting and making technology. Because this is an art project, we have purposely directed our attention to the development of symbolic, cultural and relational capital. Part of this process is to develop ‘enabling platforms’, which Manzini describes as:
the access to appropriate technologies may be facilitated; the diffusion of know-how, skills and abilities can be promoted; norms and rules can be made more flexible; the social and political tolerance may be enhanced. Considering the whole of these “designable” component of a creative context, we can refer to them as the enabling platform: the set of material and immaterial elements (products, services, infrastructures, knowledge an rules) that, implemented in a given context, enhance its possibility to be a fertile ground for creative, bottom-up initiatives. i.e. it is ableto support creative communities and enable a larger number of innovative citizens to move in the same direction.
Ultimately there is a question of governance that underwrites this and we may need to consider that. Here’s the Manzini article where this quote was sourced – he explains a bit more about enabling.
Having presented work in progress yesterday, below is the outline of where the project development is up to. I anticipate that the developmental work being undertaken through Long Time, No See? will feedback into Enabling Suburbs, thus enabling our (being John, Ben, Chiara, Jason and myself) own longer term engagement with Aspley.