Wednesday, March 7, 2007

School is in Session-Hyde Park Academy

Chicago Public Schools Golf Green: Learn the Hard Way

School is in session! In this green, two participants must compete simultaneously on different tracks to be the first to hit their ball through ‘school’ and into the hole. Scoring is as arbitrary as the grading on any standardized test: 2 points to the winner, 4 points for the loser. There are many ways to make it through the obstacle; but don’t be surprised if they don’t all take you where you want to go.

Concept: Our design is a critique of public education. You might ask why putters on this green must compete with one another at the same time, almost certainly getting in each other’s way: —we ask why students are obliged to compete with one another daily both in the hallways and classrooms when cooperation and collaboration would be more beneficial for everyone. If you get unnerved, you can just change the rules and play however you’d like. Why can’t school reform be so easy?

Construction: This design was conceived and constructed by students at Hyde Park Academy, facilitated by the PUPPET POSSE Collective (P2). P2’s purpose is to create an artistic community that consists of University students and youth from the Kenwood, Hyde Park, and Woodlawn neighborhoods, and seeks to empower students to build an artistic voice in their community. The obstacles are constructed out of recycled materials recovered at Hyde Park Academy. The structure of the ‘school’ is composed of recycled PC towers, borrowed temporarily from a service project run by John Kugler, the Industrial Design Teacher. Kugler trains student apprentices how to renovate used computers to send to Mexico through a technology exchange program. In addition to these materials with ‘future lives’, we have been considering how the golf course itself can have a ‘future life’ as an entrepreneurial business. In an epoch in which large, faceless corporations own most miniature golf courses, we would like to see miniature golf reinvented as an entrepreneurial business grounded in the designs, themes, and issues pertaining to local communities.


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