The Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB) is an artist-run, renovated recreational vehicle that exists as a flexible space open to community members’ proposals for alternative educational and cultural programming.

MLAB is the collaborative effort of the 2007-2008 Social Sculpture class at Syracuse University, comprised of 10 art and architecture students and lead by artist and Director of Community Initiatives in the Visual Arts of Syracuse University, Marion Wilson. Our mission was to transform a used, 1984 Recreational Vehicle Bus into a Mobile Literacy and Arts Bus for use by the Syracuse City School District and the greater Syracuse Community. MLAB serves as a physical manifestation of Syracuse University’s Scholarship in Action initiative, by pairing University resources with community needs in an attempt to address the staggering drop out rates in the Syracuse City School District High Schools. Through the School of Education at Syracuse University, incredible curricula that bridge photography, poetry and literacy currently exist within the public schools-- however due to a crisis of space, the schools don't always have the space or resources to house it. MLAB is this space. The bus serves as a mobile classroom, digital photo lab, gallery space, and community center. As a team, we did it all: demolition, design, and construction.

MLAB is made possible from the generous support of the School of Education at Syracuse University and Entitiative.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The A to the Q

Q: "How does this class relate to your personal practice?"

Sam Harmon's A:

When I think about my studio practice, I'm not very interested in creating art that I think is apart from our daily visual culture.  Rather, I highlight and employ the visuals and materials that exist in my/our everyday, creating subtle foreignness among the genre painting of life.  I'd like to do at least make a blip in the brain waves,  and at most, unlocking a little discursive door into each human's personal narnia that they can visit once a lifetime or once a day.   Art is everything and nothing to me, and the things I do are manifestations of how I see and think.

SO, the m-lab project I don't separate from my studio practice entirely.  The m-lab - a raised bump on the skin of what we understand as everyday reality is on the same face as my other projects. The major difference is the collaborative means to the end.  I see parallels in terms of altering something that exists (in terms of the RV and the existing curriculum) rather than creating something from scratch.  The RV is a nontraditional art material, provoking us to see a number of things differently- including the RV, the classroom, and "sculpture," which are things I think about in my own work as well.

I could write a book, and I will, someday.

Love, Sam

No comments: