In preparing my presentation for the CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative on Tuesday night, I unearthed some student work from the “Processes of Placemaking” class I taught at Penn in 2003. We were working with the History of Art Department, PennPraxis, and the Center for Community Partnerships to explore what constitutes a public and how one makes a public place, to investigate town-gown relationships in West Philadelphia, and to propose ways to make various places along the 40th Street corridor into effective public places. We ended up working closely with the amazing Andrew Zitcer to create an exhibition in the Rotunda, a Carrere & Hastings-designed former Christian Science church that became an every-now-and-then venue for shows (I saw Mum, Mono, Interpol — while they were still an opening band! — and quite a few other shows there), exhibitions, impromptu gatherings, etc. We created an exhibition of the building’s history in the foyer, and were able to grant our visitors rare access to the sanctuary.
The students — all undergrads from across the university, from Wharton business kids to graphic designers and architects — wanted to create a take-away for visitors. In keeping with the ethos of The Foundation, which was (is?) responsible for programming the space, the students decided to create a manifesto, in zine form. I had completely forgotten about this, and was delighted to stumble upon it tonight. The timing is quite coincidental: it was only about a week ago that I went up to SVA’s D-Crit lecture series to hear Rick Poynor deliver a “Manifesto on Manifestos.”