Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Intervention 1: Kamamas/ Youth Centre / Brain Centre

Step 1:

One of our identified areas for intervention is Kamamas, a coffee shop created and initially funded by the National Development Agency (NDA), it like a number of similar projects in this area has recently shut down due to lack of funds once the NDA grants have been exhausted. Our intentions in this area involve gaining an understanding as to why so many of these projects fail and subsequently looking into some alternatives for the re-activation of the space.

The Southern African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) have also recently built a 'Brain Center' next to Kamamas, this centre will house internet enabled computers, educational play areas for smaller children and a reading and learning area. We are currently working together with key community members to develop plans and strategies to both activate and link the spaces.

One of the main features in our plans is the upgrade and re-imagining of an existing Planetary Highway, these current public structures are dotted along the only tarred road in the town of Sutherland, they indicate the different planets and represent relationally the size and distance differences between the planets. Unfortunately the structures have been vandalized and as a result large cages have been placed on top of them, the result being that the structures are virtually invisible and resemble dustbins or tombstones. In order to redesign the Planetary Highway as well as link it into and activate the Brain Centre we are holding workshops with the children every two days. The results of these workshops are informing our design solutions.

Digital mockups to follow shortly.

Yesterday’s activities involved amongst other things creating 'telescopes' that capture the stars during the day. Using donated and recycled tubes and vinyl each child designed his or her own telescope and covered the end with block out fabric, we then pricked star drawings into the fabric. The effect is obviously a daytime star experience. We are working towards turning this idea into a possible product for tourists visiting Sutherland, to be displayed and sold with Kamamas.

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