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.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Panel Thoughts

I had a lot of time to think during this weekend's long drive, and managed to devote a good amount of it to thinking about the bus - specifically about the removable panels/cushions. Here's a rundown of what I had been thinking about.

The panels need to have a pretty precise fit and, for reasons of saftey and durability, should also probably had rounded corners. As much fun as that would be to do 20 times w/ a jigsaw, it would probably be easier to laser cut them (like the model, but less frustrating). This means a couple of things. We could etch a computer engraved icon in each panel that indicates how to operate it. I thought about making some type of unversal icon that looked a little bit like those found on trash cans. Vince suggested that we write "push" in a different language on each panel. What do you guys think?

The interior of the panels and their supports could also utilize the laser cutter to accomodate for some neat things. Instead of relying on people to remember where they got their panel from, maybe we design some kind of graphic correlation between the cushion and the birch panel that sits behind the frame. This could also take several different forms, all of which (so far) involve the laser cutter as well.

1. We could number the panels and the cushions, so that cushion #1 would (ideally) be placed in opening #1. These numbers could be pretty large, enough to add interest to the fabric itself (which would have the outline of a large number in the center of it).

2. We could get 20 or so students (former/future students in the program?) to make some kind of simple design/line drawing, scan it into the computer and etch it into each panel. There would be the same 1:1 relationship here as there is with the numbered system, with drawings on the panels and in the frame being matched up to find the panels "correct" position.

3. Same deal, but with lines from famous poems to be matched with their authors. This makes the panels into a sort of educational device, as well as something to sit on.

I'm not sure how clear that all was, and don't have too much time right now, so I'll upload some sketches this evening. For now, what do you guys think? Should the panels have a "correct" position in the first place?


M-Lab said...

yes I think the panels should have a correct position in the first place and I think all or any of your idea for locating them (push/language/numbers/color/poems etc ) would be desirable and help to warm up the space a bit. I say yes.

Roslyn said...

I agree. I like the idea of warming up the space by creative writing etc.
Push in different languages is also clever. When are we going to get together about sanding? I suppose I should call you on that one.