2nd Floor Rear 2016: We Are Here
2nd Floor Rear 2016: We Are Here is a meditation and open-ended discourse on the meaning(s) of being somewhere.
It’s 2nd Floor Rear’s 5th anniversary. To celebrate, we’re inviting Pilsen to join the party. (Actually, we’re dropping in like an uninvited guest, hoping to make our visit worth Pilsen’s while.) This move got us thinking about the social and cultural politics of being and acting in a specific space. If what Heraclitus said is true, that you can never step in the same river twice, so too with the city street—its cultural landscape is constantly in flux. And like the bright red arrow that pinpoints our location on a map, the creative output of a place is the pulsing beacon that heralds and gives form to our cohabitation. It’s a way to let people and history know that we are breathing, living, thinking, working, making, and dreaming, here.
In anticipation of 2nd Floor Rear 2016: We Are Here, we’re thinking about some of art historian David Summers’ observations: that architectural places—enclosures—unite groups as groups, that such enclosures exclude as well as include, and that specific spatial relations and social relations arise together. We’re also thinking about spaces as binding and normative (who, exactly, is this “we”?), or potentially liberating. We’re thinking of temporary autonomous zones, of the beach beneath the paving stones, of walking the city, of strategies and tactics. We’re thinking about space in relation to bodies and bodies that shape place. We’re thinking about who gets to be where, and why.
We’re thinking about places driven or defined by people, power, people in power, gentrification, migration, dis/placement, urbanization and ecology, peripheries and centers (why do we DIY?), productive hangouts (parties as form), productive callouts (protest as form), and productive dropouts (like the the USC seven, we’re “devising new spaces for collective weirdness and joy”). We’re thinking about dots, pins and beacons as metaphor—about the implications of visibility, of assertion, of marking time when your time has come. We’re thinking about place as movement, as nowhere, as imaginary or ideological. We’re thinking about psychogeography, pirate utopias, places forged by ritual, transitoriness, visiting, placemaking, homemaking, histories, historicizing, supermodernity, pop-ups, squats, dreamworlds, cyberspace, publics and privates, order and entropy. We’re wondering what it means to be “based,” “from,” or “of” a place. Where is “here”? Where are we? Who is “we”? What is happening here and now? How did it get that way? Where is it all going? And most importantly, why does this matter?
Open this post to see the 2016 call for proposals and other opportunities, listed below.