I first heard of our speaker Katarzyna Balug, by reputation, not by name. Someone mentioned a project she had done, putting on urban planning performance art pieces in which she dressed up as a time traveler and asked locals what they thought the future of their city was going to be like. When I finally met her, I blurted out, “Oh, so you’re the public space alien!” (The original story, telephone-style had morphed a bit by the time it got to me.) The practice Kate founded, the Department of Play, was just selected as an ArtPlace America (a grants program for art and culture as a keystone of community development) finalist. Their proposal suggests using “play as a strategy for placemaking to address the challenge of desegregating Boston’s public life.” Kate will join us next week to talk about her journey through art and urbanism.
Interested in joining us? RSVP here.
About Kate: Katarzyna Balug is an artist and urbanist whose practice flows from performance, installation, and sculpture to teaching, civic design, and planning research. Inspired by science fiction worlds and informed by urban planning studies, Balug’s work addresses the urgent need for imagination in urbanism. Her practice, Department of Play runs temporary play zones (TPZs) that bring people together to imagine collectively and share their visions of the future. Their recent BLOCK PARTY in Union Square invited Somervillians to “consider key built elements for the first Martian dwellers.” Their forthcoming installation for the Fairmount Corridor will take place on the train, a space that is “passed-through but unmemorable” as a starting point for imagining other forms of co-existing in a crowd. Balug’s work has been shown at venues including the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, Poland, at the Boston Arts Festival, and at FARO Tláhuac in Mexico City.
The Creative Somerville Series is a series of ‘fireside chats’ with local creatives & entrepreneurs in design, tech, food, social impact, and other fields–celebrating the creative and entrepreneurial energy that makes Somerville great. The Creative Somerville Series is not your typical power point and Q&A. Our fireside chats are about getting to hear someone’s story, learning about how they think and create, and sharing ideas in an intimate setting. Cosponsored by Somerville Local First and The Somerville Beat.
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