In October of 2010, the founders of Research Club and Grand Detour are going on tour to meet artists, organizations, and community projects. Starting in our saucy neighbor Seattle, we’re heading out to the amazing cultural hubs of Berlin, London and Glasgow. In each city we will connect with, pester, and feed people, projects, and groups doing interesting things and ask two questions: “What have you learned?” and “How do you do what you do?”
Research Club has been facilitating collaboration, catalyzing projects, and building community and discourse in Portland since July, 2009 . Our goal is to find groups and individuals who contribute to the culture or sustainability of their community, and provide them with the tools and assistance they need to be more effective and successful. We help the do-ers get things done-er.
Grand Detour has taken on a similar role as catalyst, salon, and facilitator to the world of experimental film and video. By providing a welcoming venue, a participatory audience, and encouraging dialogue between creators, they've quickly developed an impressive community of filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts. They'll be screening some of the best work from their summer series, documenting the Heavy Meta tour, and making connections with the European experimental film community.
Why we are touring
Four reasons! Count 'em:
1) Make face-to-face connections with other cities
The combination of the world economy doing a cold grody on itself, everyone and their houseplants suddenly networked and tweeting, and online resources like Kickstarter itself have redefined how projects emerge and sustain themselves. Who knows what it'll take to get things done a year from now.
We are building a network to connect the people who are taking these new kinds of risks, and documenting the ways projects have formed and what people have learned from them. We hope that by building this network and sharing our research, we can provide the tools for existing projects and organizations to do what they do sustainably and effectively. More important, we hope to provide a forum where new projects can ask the questions that others have already answered, whether they are artists, activists, programmers, or some new form of community and mission driven organization.
This trip is the next step in building the network we have already started, but these networks are still forged by human relationship and face to face contact. Which is why we feel it is time to reach out to other communities full of curious people in other countries.
2) Document the structures and record the knowledge of the organizations and projects we find
We will investigate the way the avant-garde, the tinkerers, and the problem solvers operate as communities and individuals while filming, interviewing, and collecting projects, contacts, and ideas in each city. By personally interviewing the people who have taken a chance and tried to make their projects a reality, we will gather practical and inspirational research for people and groups in other cities trying to realize their own projects.
3) Share our community building recipe with other communities
We’ve developed a few simple, cheap, and effective ways of building community and creating interdisciplinary conversation. Our main tactic for doing this is to gather inquisitive people into a room, give them food, and discuss what we’ve all learned. People only really get it when they attend one of our events in person and end up in the most stimulating conversation they’ve had in weeks, or discover someone trying to do the same thing that they’re doing, or simply learn something new and inspiring from a peer while eating free food with other smart people. So we’re going on this trip to show everyone how it works, and how easy it is to do themselves. That’s our way of doing what we are asking others to do -- share the patterns and ideas that they know are effective. Like a happy, unstoppable brain-virus.
We’ll also be announcing other collaborative projects throughout the tour, so check in regularly: www.research-club.org/heavymeta
4) Use these connections to build a network, both online and in the real world
After the trip, we will compile our documentation and research into a DVD, a publication, and a presentation. Additionally we’ll be contributing our research to an upcoming issue of Proximity Magazine and pursuing opportunities to publish and share our findings elsewhere.
We have already started laying the foundations for a federated social network designed to promote the same cross-pollination of ideas and sharing of valuable operational lessons that occurs, face to face, at our events. We hope that by building this network and documenting and archiving our research, we can provide a valuable resource to those people and groups who are actively trying to make their community better and more interesting. And we hope that it will give rise to future projects which will accomplish things we haven’t imagined yet. Track the progress here: www.research-club.org/heavymeta/network
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