Resource Room / Interventions

Filipino Artist Jason Dy, SJ sees the Staff Room as a potential space of respite and recreation for all staff that complements the other offices within the Bluecoat.  During his internship, Dy has made two interventions.  One is a set of proposed layout sketches indicating possible designs of the Staff Room to bridge the gap between the intended use and actual use (Figs. 23 and 24).  However, he realizes this kind of approach is not collaborative being from the point of view of a transient visitor offering a design to the regular staff members.  Therefore he would propose a brainstorming workshop with the staff and would present to them a blank floor plan of the Staff Room.  They could design the space according to how they use the place as well as in relation to the intended institutional purpose of the room.  It would be an activity where the staff could articulate their own usage of the place while negotiating the usage of others.  They would also be requested to suggest ways of realizing their design plans.  A synthesis of their articulated designs and plans would be produced by the workshop facilitator and be signed by each participant.  The document would be submitted to Bluecoat’s board of directors for negotiation and approval.

Secondly, to re-awaken interest in the Staff Room, Dy initiated a collection of objects found in various offices and displayed them along the plastic cable trunking on the two larger walls inside the room.

As objects, embedded in them are the processes of their production either hand-crafted or manufactured; the narrative of their acquisition and use; the site of their placement or displacement; and their relation to the subjects who collected and use them (Godfrey, 2009).  Because they are selected and displayed in a specific way in relation to the space, to each other, and are part of a specific creative intervention by Dy, as an artist and curator-intern, to a specific inquiry into the spatial use of the place, they are in a sense curated within the room.

In their original site, the placements of these objects are either arbitrary or ordered.  But there is a certain internal logic of operationality, that is, these objects are put on a specific spot depending on how they contribute to the whole operation towards the accomplishment of specific tasks.  Like in the participation and programme departments the primary skills involved are researching, planning, scheduling, managing and evaluating of exhibitions, education programmes and workshops, and the main supplementary electronic fixtures are computer and telecommunications systems.  Thus, these objects are situated around these two main fixtures.  Their proximity depends on their operational value, or in a sense, their usefulness for finishing a task as well as providing an aesthetic purpose.  Some objects like photographs and plants, though not a tool for accomplishing a task are placed within the sight of vision (perhaps beside a computer screen) provide a decorative and motivational function.  Collectively, with all other things in the room such as furniture and fixtures, these objects become important in creating a working environment that supports the staff in performing their work and creativity.

In their new site, they become objects of personal investments for the Staff Room.  In contributing these objects to the Staff Room, Dy has co-opted the staff members to invest in the place.  Their objects become part of a collection of everyday artefacts disrupting the usual aesthetics of the room.  Collections may increase depending on the response of the staff members.  The collection is open-ended.  No instructions are given, no notice about the project and some do not even know who initiated the project.  They may either contribute their own objects or wait for an invitation to participate in this collaborative project.

Thus, these two interventions are not disruptive to the actual usage of the place or to the general arrangement of the furniture.  They are rather minimal interventions in the room by primarily working through existing elements.  However minimal and seemingly mundane, they are aimed at initiating conversations about the Staff Room - its intended use and actual use as well as its potential resource as a space of respite and recreation for the Bluecoat staff.

Special thanks to Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK