Collaborative Agitprop

scott constable

Scoping a site for Watershed Field Research in Fruitvale

One of the most rewarding aspects of a collaborative working relationship is that both the relationship and the work it produces tend to improve over time. Whenever Ene and I (aka wowhaus) perform field research for one of our public projects, we pay as close attention to streamlining the mechanics of our process as to the production of meaningful data. Sometimes this can be as deceptively simple as making sure we keep it entertaining for us and engaging for our participants. As with travel, the pleasure often derives from unintended consequences.

farmersmarket2

Ene fields responses to visual symbols of water at the Grand Lake farmer’s market

The thing I like best about staging the mini interventions that comprise our project research is the opportunity to make the props. I like the formal constraints of having very limited time and money to design and make something that persists in functioning well despite the odds. Granted, the results border on slapstick, but that fits with my default craftitude. To support the field research for our Watershed Marker project for the City of Oakland, I made a portfolio case that doubles as a surprisingly un-flimsy, portable table. Able to carry several large pads of paper, magic markers, clipboards and more, the case is easy to carry over several city blocks, and the table sets up and breaks down in minutes, the legs being stowed within.

field research table

My surprisingly un-flimsy, portable valise/table for field research sets up in minutes