This article is the second of a series of three articles that will follow the Wandering Pavilion this summer. Now past the midway point in the Wandering Pavilion’s journey, we’ve had a chance to see the pavilion in three different configurations and four different locations.
Recently, I started to explain why I felt all of this stuff was important. The person I was sitting with gave a really good analogy. He explained that at events, a round circle of chairs would create a very different social dynamic than neatly positioned rows. A round circle may foster a collaborative environment, provided it’s not too big, where rows establish a formal hierarchy between the listeners and the presenter. You can bet members of the audience will be quiet and polite but it’ll be hard to get them to participate.
The same is true of the way buildings themselves are composed and placed within their environment. Our journey so far has been a really great demonstration of how different types of spaces can elicit distinct reactions. I’ll use three stops as examples, the Story Collector on Signal Hill, our sojourn in Bannerman Park, and a takeover of parking spaces for the headquarters of the HOLD FAST festival.
At the first stop, the two pieces of the pavilion faced each other. Even though it wasn’t fully enclosed, it felt like a room. Instinct told us we had to position the pieces like this to protect from the wind. We were collecting audio, which really doesn’t go well with St. Johns’ windswept high point. People were curious, they paused to look at the structure then felt welcome to enter, stay a while and share their stories.
In Bannerman Park the two sides were staggered on either side of a path. With a bit less order, this configuration encouraged movement between one or the other, and along the path. Like large rocks in a stream, the pavilion created an eddy, slowing down passers by. More quickly than the first installation, people kept moving. In this eddy, we had a soapbox and an improvised performance, for both, the pavilion drew in passers by for a short stay, but it seemed less intimate than the previous stop.
Most recently, the pavilion was set up with the two sides beside each other like a stage. While it was a bit more fun than chairs in rows, people still gathered and looked intently towards the pavilion. All of these configurations feel differently, but to me, they all seem open, encouraging curious people to come check it out. The pavilion now sits as a quiet place in Long Pond, then will move to the site of the new Farmer’s Market to test out some ideas about how the old Metro Bus Depot could evolve.
To close out the season, we’ll be in Quidi Vidi on September 25th celebrating our summer and the history of the place. We’ve teamed up with the Quidi Vidi Brewery, Fishing for Success, and Mallard Cottage, where we’ll have free fish and good times! Stay in the loop and check out an event, we’re letting everyone know where we are on Twitter @wanderpavilion.Next month I’ll tell you where we’ve been, what we’ve learned and what we’re dreaming up for next year.