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Passyunk & 8th

PHILADELPHIA, 2021

With the Support of the Velocity Fund and in collaboration with Vamos Juntos and Fleisher Art Memorial, Alumbra worked with the vulnerable youth in South Philly to transform an empty lot into a one night-time destination with a temporal light art installation designed and fabricated by them, creating cultural and social identity, public engagement and space appropriation.

Why?

Alumbra collaborated with the youth community & local organizations to imagine the public spaces they need for a healthier & happier community life, with a strong component on cultural identity & social cohesion.   

Successful public spaces play an essential role in a community’s dynamics when they create a sense of place, connect a variety of people, & help build inclusive neighborhoods. Recent studies on public spaces during COVID show that open spaces are more popular, the search for outdoor human needs is more valuable now & these spaces are being used “like never before”.

 

Communities need pleasant open areas where they can feel safe & comfortable, while keeping social distance.

Where?

The site was chosen by the youth, a local lot that has been empty for years, just a few blocks from the Vamos Juntos office.  

How?

LABORATORY:
LEARNING EXPERIENCES

During virtual and in-person workshops we used light as a tool for expression and transformation.  

 

Young people approached light from a different perspective: it is not only functional, but it can transforms spaces, create environment, conveys messages and express emotions. An engaging introduction to light and the role it plays in our lives.

LABORATORY:
COLLECTIVE CREATION

During the workshop we used a placemaking approach to reimagine the space and reclame it as a night-time destination where a diversity of interests and ideas came together. 

Through observation and diagnosis, the youth identified needs and opportunities for the space, designing the intervention collectively. 

To create the light installation a final fabrication workshop was done outdoors with participants and extended members of the local community. 

A collaborative process to strengthen soft & hard skills through a visual light art project.  

What?

The young participants built light boxes/ modules with translucent materials and colorful light bulbs. 

 

Participants decorated their boxes individually or in pairs, following the themes they choose as a group:  

nature and community

This will become a temporal night-destination, a community-owned environment

Who?

Amara, 19 y/o (Vamos Juntos)

I loved learning about light in our lives - not only for security purposes but as an art form. 

I think the project brought the community together, seeing all the young people from different organisations meeting and sharing ideas was really nice. 

 

(About the event) I’ve seen a lot of people being attracted to the lights so I can imagine more people coming to the space. 

Sein and Jan (Fleisher Art Memorial)

We had a great time today… 

I was really afraid that when I go to high school I wouldn’t be able to make friends, but I just made some friends and got to know them, so I feel that I’m going to be ok. 

Jan (Fleisher Art Memorial)

Today was really fun!  I feel like I can relate to everybody here, and everyone is on the same page as me so I don’t feel all left out. 

A neighbour

I was running on Washington Avenue about 4 hours ago and I saw it being setup and I called a friend and decided to show up… 

And yeah, it’s been wonderful to see it!  there is something contagious about having a bunch of children, strangers and artists get together and take over land that people think its forgotten.  

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