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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

another step closer to liminality

Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold"[1]) is the quality of the second stage of a ritual in the theories of Arnold van Gennep, Victor Turner, and others. In these theories, a ritual, especially a rite of passage, involves some change to the participants, especially their social status.[2]

The liminal state is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed - a situation which can lead to new perspectives.

We made a lot of progress over the charrette since Matt arrived last Wednesday evening. He was very impressed with our project and thankful for the opportunity to contribute to it. He is even considering coming back to help some more. From Thursday mornign to Monday morning we worked nonstop designing, driving around getting materials, grinding, cutting, welding and fabricating.

If you haven't been by the bust yet, we have a really beautiful/powerful/awesome/accessible threshold into our M-LAB. If you are at the bus, be careful to step through and over the door frame to enter. We don't want to rack the door any until we get the front and back panels on it. You can swing the door open and step on the door jam all you want.

Its amazing how something as simple as offsetting the hinge on a door completely changes the experience, or the semiotics, of "doorness". The next step is to work out a latch/lock that also refuses the signification of "door". Why go through all this trouble designing and fabricating these ideas? Because, these details contribute to the ambiguity and indeterminacy of form and function which will foster the liminal spatial properties of our classroom. Just like the unexpected aggregate wood floor, puzzle benches, cloud ceiling and cabinet wall.

We're not out of the woods yet though. There is still about 6 hours of fabrication work left on the door... I mean threshold.

Matt is on his way back to CT with the oak panels which will be milled on the large format CNC machine and sent back up here next week or so.

Thanks Marion for helping us work out access to the tools and shop over the weekend and Roslyn for the trip to home depot... we broke the rest of those bits that night and had to use the ones you picked up.

1 comment:

Roslyn said...

Awww. Makes me happy to be useful. I have to admit, I've always been a fan of off set hinges. Hope you guys werent there too late!