A Caretakers Maintenance Manifesto

A Caretakers Maintenance Manifesto, with apologies to Mierle Ukeles.

This is not a guide.
This is not an instructional didactic.
This is not a sales pitch.
This is not replicable.
This is not institutional.
This is not governmental.
This is not corporate.
 

This is eccentric.
This is personal.
This is delicate.
This is likely to fail.
This is hard.
This is not how you should do things.
This is how we do things.

There is a way of walking through a site, as a dance it unfolds, a long dance that lets you partner with a place.

When we bring someone in to work with us on a project, we insist that they take it upon themselves to imagine that when they move around a site for the first time, it is as a dance, it's light hearted, is tongue in check and it's really serious.

We learnt this in our years working with Federation Square – as a site they let us come and play with programming. For three winters and three summers we turned up each day, everyday day for a month and walked the site, danced the site and brought the site into place for us. 

Its an alignment that is needed, and of course you are not moving the place, so you must be moving something in yourself.

It was our way of surviving the dislocation, the hyper transitional, transactional space that large public squares are, and perhaps always have been. 

We fell in love with the site, we fell in love with the place, a heady mix, part Stockholm Syndrome and part bloody mindedness to do the right thing.

Standard operating model for making a place.

Meet, confer, consult, design, implement, leave, repeat. 
Meet, confer, consult, design, implement, leave, repeat.

Meet, confer, construct, design, imitate, leave, repeat.
Meet, confer, construct, design, imitate, leave, repeat.

Meet, infer, construed, design, intimate, leave, repeat.
Meet, infer, construed, design, intimate, leave, repeat.

Meet, infer, insult, dilute, impede, leave, repeat.
Meet, infer, insult, dilute, impede, leave, repeat.

We don't want this, we are no good at this.

How do we give care to a place without getting in the way?
How do we maintain a place without getting in the way?
How to we open a door without getting in the way?
How do we fix a window without getting in the way?

As designers our community of practice is guilty of waste on a grand scale.
As Caretakers we are here to mend.
As Caretakers we are here to open doors.
As Caretakers we are here to fix, find, show, move, clean, report, help.
As Caretakers we are here to resolve, refine, remove, replace, recycle.
As Caretakers we are here to dance with entropy.
As Caretakers we are here to whistle in empty rooms, in empty corridors, in empty fields.
As Caretakers we are here to light fires, turn on computers and turn off lights.
As Caretakers we are here to get behind and push.

What is required to enable something to happen?

Cable Tie

Cable Tie