Presto's Traveling Lecture Series: Street Corner Society

Mr. Nick Tobier
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Nick Tobier:
Presto's Traveling Lecture Series presents: Street Corner Society

Like a tidal pool poised between the enclosed crevices of a stone and the roiling waters of the sea, the street corner like places where worlds coincide, offers temporary communities filled with possibilities for unexpected encounter.

At the crossroads.
Between forest and field, between salt water and fresh water.
Where Walk and Don't Walk overlap, lives intersect. Let us pause this instance, and turn attention to these if only for a moment places.

Street Corner Society physically proceeds from the lecture hall onto a street corner, where theoretical notions of Street Corners find a place in the world outside. Where a private gathering becomes public, and where coincidental passers-by are both invited and accidental parts of an evolving conversation and a dynamic scenario, Street Corner Society proposes a combined lecture/performance that puts its own theory into practice.

With inspiration from wandering griots, Chattaquas and other itinerant storytellers,
these lectures are both precisely what they seem --short discourses on eccentric subjects that reveal themselves first as parodies of lectures with such aspirations, and then as calls to action where the lecture becomes a truly public event. Part of a lineage derived from oral traditions popular in mid-19th to early 20th century revivalist camps that set up summer institutes to advocate for all manner of interests from the Methodist ministry to bogus scientific institutes, Presto's Traveling Lecture Series advocates building up a crowd into a community through wild speculation and conjecture and turning question and answer into call and response.

Keywords: Public forms and forums, Open Engagement, Temporary communities
Stream: Art in Communities, Constructing Art Worlds, Audiences, Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Mr. Nick Tobier

Artist, Assitant Professor, School of Art and Design, University of Michigan

Most often I describe my work as situational.
I'm keen on real or imagined scenarios playing out in everyday places, and hope that my actions provoke the possibility that everyday places can be rather extra ordinary.
Prior to staging public spectacles, I offered small street side services--a bridge to assist crossing puddles, a woven and upholstered mobile tent that dispensed hot chocolate, and a tricycle driven chandelier that illuminated dark streets. These once utilitarian services have become celebratory events more than strictly functional objects, and I believe strongly that this public celebration is inherently functional. Recent events include a Parade with and for a fleet of 47 micro trucks around Philadelphia, an interactive transit device in a Boston subway station, a parade to open a film festival, a series of choreographed performances for film featuring casts from one to fifty, and a traveling amusing lecture series.

Ref: A06P0290