CAMPER: The Urban Discovery Project

At the core of many contemporary urban-situated art practices is a desire to make the everyday experience of the world more meaningful. Urban public spaces are recognized as a continuum of human experiences constantly redefined by their users in ways that often break free from their prescribed design.

Working with notions of the city as a site for aesthetic experience, the Urban Discovery Project will present one-day short-duration events that foster an exploration of Calgary by taking people off their “predictable paths” and transforming their urban landscape. These one-day events will lead up to the finale of CAMPER 2011 with Broken City Lab’s residency…and then the city.

The CAMPER schedule is as follows:

Friday June 10: Finding the P Spot

Where do you go when you just gotta go? To CAMPER’s Centre for Restroom Awareness & Protocol, of course! Explore an essential – yet often overlooked – part of the urban environment. Grab a field manual for a self-guided tour of Calgary’s public restrooms, or let Jane Grace and Sharon Stevens help you find your P Spot during guided walking tours, complete with survival demos and other interactive surprises. Guided Tours begin at Olympic Plaza at 1:00pm, 3:00pm and 5:00pm, and Disco in the Loo includes a visit to new restrooms near CMLC Simmons Building at 8:00pm.

Saturday June 25: Garden Graffiti 2.0

The second installment of the Urban Discovery Project will see Byron Rich lead participants into the urban jungle, gardens and tools in tow. Utilizing CAMPER as base camp, Graffiti Garden 2.0 will encourage participants to configure garden modules and engage the urban environment in a new way. The tour begins at 9:00am at Festival Market/Barclay Square.

Saturday July 9: Mobile Street Archive: Walk. Draw. Repeat.

In the third installment of the Urban Discovery Project, Kristofer Kelly will take the role of a street archivist, embarking on a 24-hour journey of endurance up Calgary’s Centre Street. Kelly will walk 100 steps, draw for 10 minutes and then repeat until he has reached the end of the street. The process begins at 9:00am.

Tuesday, July 19-Friday, July 29: …and then the city

Concluding the Urban Discovery Project, Broken City Lab’s project, entitled…and then the city, is a sprawling series of short statements generated in response to the specific situations and realities that arise out of a place. Beginning each phrase with “…and then the city,” the statement acts as a tool for imaginative engagement with a city’s past, present, and future and creates a possible “ending” to what seems to be the cyclical nature of cities. Locations at Stephen Avenue and Central Memorial Park.

CAMPER (Contemporary Art Mobile Public Exhibition Rig) is a 1975 Dodge Empress motorhome, modified to become a portable public exhibition and project space. CAMPER’s mandate is to investigate the places where art, the road, education, and recreation meet, and to explore these intersections in an inclusive, participation-oriented manner that fosters public engagement and appreciation of contemporary art practices.

CAMPER initially started out hosting the popular Patch Project. After three successful years, CAMPER was reinvented as a project-based residency program that offered artists the unique opportunity for artistic exploration and public engagement. Now in its third season of thematic residencies, CAMPER will host the Urban Discovery Project in 2011.

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