Wordy Dodos in Charlottetown

I have a soft spot in my heart for Shauna McCabe and her wordy crew of cultural warriors (see also Contemporary Psychogeographies).

I don’t understand most of what they write — I’m certain it’s brilliant, but the language is simply too dense for me to casually parse (where they say “experimental co-creative lab for engaging with communities” I might say, for example, “neighbourhood party”).

Verbiage aside (and, heck, I’ve been known to engage is verbiage-play myself), I find the undercarriage of their activities to overlap a lot with stuff that fascinates me.  And so I’m kind of excited about DodoLab Charlottetown even though I quite haven’t figured out what it actually is yet.  Here’s Shauna’s description of it:

DodoLab Charlottetown has been commissioned by the Confederation Centre. This iteration will include a full week of creative field research and three days of public activity involving a diverse team of students and professionals. Inspired by the Experimental Farm, this DodoLab has been designed to engage with a variety of issues including evolving ideas about farming and agriculture, public and common space, guerrilla and urban gardening and concepts of what is “green,” sustainable and “natural”. DodoLab will engage the public in playful creative exercises in order to investigate, document, and share ideas inspired by a particular local situation that has deep relevance nationally and internationally. Findings from this community-based project will be published on line and presented in the fall.

I think that means “cool people from away hanging out in Charlottetown for a week doing cool stuff.”  I believe chickens may be involved, but I’m not sure.

In any case, the Dodoids want your help even before the party gets started.  They seek answers to the following:

  1. What do you remember that is no longer here?
  2. What would you bring back?

You can email your responses to dodolab@gmail.com (you might post them here too, as I’d be interested to read what you have to say).  If you want to follow along more closely, www.dodolab.ca seems like the place to be.


Josh Biggley's picture
Josh Biggley on August 16, 2009 - 19:45 Permalink

Ok, I don’t think I qualify for this social experiment as I have only been here 18 months but I did want to comment with a few observations and thoughts.

First, I appreciate Charlottetown’s general desire to maintain the architectural integrity within the city core. The notable lack of stucco is exceptionally pleasing to the eye. I’m also intrigued by the congruity among the varied business signs. It is not perfect, but the profound lack of those gaudy portable black signs with the neon lettering is to be applauded.

Second, I’ll confess to some jealousy in the titles of Dr. McCabe — Canada Research Chair in Critical Theory in the Interpretation of Culture and Director of CHARTS, the Centre for Humanities and Arts Research in Transdisciplinary Space, Mount Allison University. Not that I am specifically jealous of the title (ok, maybe a little) but I was prowling around the UPEI website dreaming of a degree and realized that I couldn’t find anything that dealt with modern sociology, the use (or misuse) of public space and the connection that these two elements, in addition to a vibrant arts community, play in the overall health and well-being of our city. It is a shame that the study of art, architecture, society and technology cannot be found in a degree offering at UPEI. (I know, I know — go to Mount Allison University — but the commute is a killer)

Lastly, I am thrilled to see a fellow Windsorite, Justin Langlois of BrokenCityLab.org. I’ll have to make it a point to make my way downtown and around the city that week to see what I can see.

Bravo to the Confed Centre for initiating this project. I will definitely be in attendance for the results in the fall.

Shauna McCabe's picture
Shauna McCabe on August 16, 2009 - 22:20 Permalink

Josh — you qualify completely! Would love to have you involved, get in touch — smccabe@mta.ca or just drop by, yes…