The 32 Pigeons Manifesto


Transcript from

[Angela speaking]

This will be an exploration of the boundaries of space—what it can include, and what it can’t include. It will be an experimentation of the ways we communicate—the how, what, why, signage, language, coding and decoding, deciphering and enciphering, and about finding the in-between. It’ll be about how translation can come through different mediums—exploring and playing with those mediums. It’s about creating a language that no one knows, or that everyone feels compelled to learn, about that space in between not knowing and knowing. It’s about the beauty in things—how they are created, what they represent, and then transmuting them, their meaning, their use—evolving what is, and creating what isn’t.

We created a site on Tumblr, where we’re collecting images, videos, drawings, words, websites, and other projects as part of our scan of relevant work; this will also constitute our process work.

[Larry speaking]

It’s to discover—or to try and answer the question “What are inclusive transmedia spaces.”

So, this is about inclusive practices, or inclusive contexts, themes… These are about spaces, but not prescriptive spaces; they have to be spaces that are somehow available in the real world, so it’s about discovering what those spaces could be, as well. And “transmedia,” I think, is a term that kind of umbrellas, in a way—it affords a lot of opportunities to think differently about what takes place in a space—you know, whether it has to do with people and performance, actors, or whether it will do with objects and installations, and interactions, and the method of mediation is different in all those cases. So it’s not like this’s kind of—into framing inclusively—it’s not this kind of delivery of one-to-many; it could actually be more one-to-one. But if it is one-to-one then it’s really about discovering and exploring, and documenting what works, because, I think, it’s not really easy to reproduce this, but it is, I would say, a lot easier to uncover potential practices. And so “inclusive transmedia spaces” is like these three words that can help frame practice.

[Qi speaking]

I still feel very excited here in Toronto even though I have already been here for four months. It has been [an] amazing experience; it was the most extraordinary period in my life. The way I’m studying here is totally different [from] the way when I was in China, especially when I’m with four fantastic people in my team. This is my first graduate degree. I knew I need to research, and not much would be teacher-taught in a graduate programme, but my team and I have been doing a good job with our project. The discussion started in a cafe: we talked [about] how to present our ideas by using different materials and platforms; amazingly, a magic curtain came out. Then we walked through the OCAD campus and found many inaccessible spots in our school and then we found somewhere we can put our ideal curtain. Then we talked on Google Hangout; we presented our ideas relevant to curtains and the ideas are amazing!—Jan got ideas like a buffet, and I think it’s very neat. Then we all went deeper with our ideas and the curtain is even transformed!—like, what we are presenting today, the phone is a kind of curtain. We always want to present our ideas and thoughts with art. So I think this video is very interesting and casual. I hope you like our work.

[Jan speaking]

So we have formed as a collective of artists-researchers, called the “Dead Bird Collective” or the “Blind Spot Collective,” and we are interested in creating a number of interruptions in the perception of normality in a very real world—buildings, and space that we navigate, particularly right now as students—, and what those spaces, what our expectations are of those spaces, what those spaces deliver, we want to interrupt those expectations for ourselves and others by creating a series of interactive site-specific works that communicate the uncommunicatable—in other words, the messages that we hold inside ourselves, and I’m very interested personally in the translation of languages, and I mean personal languages—how we all, even if we have a common language of English, we are all working from concept languages, in other words, what words have come to mean to us. And my eventual research question will probably be about translation tools and using them as first-language tools that other art forms will later translate. So, I’m going to be investigating some of that within this collective of unique languages.

And I just wanted to say that the artistic research has a strong affinity with social science research, and more particularly with ethnographic research or action research, whereby in both cases the subjects and the object of study are intertwined, and the researchers are both participants and observers.

[Ambrose speaking]

There was a mention about the tension between two parts of OCAD University, as if “OCAD” and “University” could be separated. Typographically, what is between “OCAD” and “University” is a space, a device of separation, of exclusion. The space excludes “U” from being considered as part of “OCAD” and excludes “OCAD” from being read as part of “U.” Without this space screen readers [and people] will no longer be able to pronounce the two words correctly. We acknowledge that exclusion sometimes cannot be designed away, but we strive to include to the greatest extent possible. This space is the margin in between—not here, but not quite there yet. And as researchers, we also negotiate the margin in between, neither “us” as we were, but never quite “them.” In the university’s visual identity, “OCAD” and “U” are visually separated, living in separate windows, and the space between “OCAD” and “U” is also a “window.” And within this large window that is not here but not there yet, have a peek into the diverse, as it is written, “[i]t is through these ‘windows’ that we see the core of OCAD U that is often hidden from view, one that is conceptually strong, diverse and compelling.” And that was from the OCAD University visual identity pamphlet. That liminal space in between then represents at once exclusion, research, and diversity; yet it is also “hidden from view.” We, as a group, will try to explore this interaction between exclusion, research, and diversity.

[ 32 Pigeons ]

Angela Punshon / Larry Kwok / Qi Chen / Jan Derbyshire / Ambrose Li