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February 07, 2013 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-07

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2B - Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

2B - Thursday, February 7, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

a

COMMUNIT CULTUR[ COLUMN
Creative uses for
public spaces

DSOME LINES
hen you that rhymes with "cage" butgar-
nishing? That is one of the least
i a. block gangsta words of all time, and it's
only more ridiculous considering
to inter- it's in the same phrase as "baby
m. First, mama." Got to love America. The
just look only time Rick Ross should use
:an smell the word "garnish" is when he's
ck away. referencing the truffle salt he
game is , puts on.his steak.
at smells "I went and got my bitch her
Illy sniff very own salon"
far dis- If you're lucky enough to be
already Ross's woman, he won't just pay
ne in this for you to go to the salon. No.
rmer. He'll buy you a salon of your own.
gga in a Just a thought: Is Rozay's girl
ishing a qualified to run a salon? I mean,
she'd have to hire stylists and do
Since taxes and abide by health regula-
peak in tions... I thinkI need to take what
derstand rappers say less literally.
a word "I made a killing milkin'

the corner of North
University and State sat
a Hare Krishna monk
chanting the 16-word Maha
Mantra his movement holds
so dear. On
the opposite
corner, the
"you're going
to Hell" folks
were set-
ting up their
soapbox for
an afternoon JOHN
of fire spit- BOHN
ting. I found
the moment
enjoyable, but noticed a few
faces around me stricken with -
oh, I don't know - horror? Per-
plexity, in the least? They looked
unsettled.
Individually, these groups
present their own - what I
assume are to some minds sur-
prising - facts: Yes, asceticism
persists even in our highly mod-
ernized society, and yes, people
still say such hateful words with
complete and utter conviction.
Together, however, I feel as if
something different elicited
those horrified looks. Pardon
me for hazarding a guess (I can't
know what these people felt),
but perhaps the loud reminder
of a thing called "public space,"
a space that a conflicting chorus
of voices calls home, surprised
them the most.
This idea, especially recently,
has become a rather conten-
tious area of debate. France,
through its legislation banning
face-covering clothing, isndis-
covering just how complicated
the notion of "public space" can
be. For now, within certain lim-
its, we have it, and Ann Arbor,
with its particular urban design,
presents a few spaces that are
ideal for anyone looking for an
audience. While the (relatively)
untamed presence of the public
space terrified me initially, I
have come to realize that not
only should we preserve public
space at all costs but that it also
has a lot of untapped creative
potential.
I am a child of suburban
sprawl. Public space, for the
most part, existed in the walk-
ways in between the shopping
malls - areas whose usage
would indicate lack of personal
transport and therefore class
status. To many among the
comfortable classes, these areas
were feared. Since most of these
walkways in my town weren't
actual sidewalks but instead the
shoulder of the road, the fear
was propped up by the recur-
ring proof of pedestrian deaths
in these areas. On one occasion,
one of my favorite local bands
had made plans to perform in a
park pavilion in my hometown
after their other show had been
canceled. Halfway through the
performance, the police arrived
and kicked them out because
they had not been allowed to
perform there. True, my town
had public parks, but parks stand
far away from everyday life and
regulation by private ownership

quells the spontaneous perfor-
mances and political gestures
that happen all the time in a
place like Ann Arbor.
When I arrived in Ann Arbor,
public space had that unsettling
effect upon me that I thought I
saw in the people viewing the
monks and the firebrands. I
wasn't used to such a forum; life
had become regulated and rou-
tinized; transit and travel were
merely a means to the next part
of the schedule. If anyone ever
thought of these in-between
spaces, they probably did so with
contempt. But in Ann Arbor,
the walkways congest traffic
and slow down movement. This
space between destinations
(class and the coffee shopthe
house and the shop) becomes a
site of activity itself. This is all
obvious stuff. Various organiza-
tions and clubs use it to their
advantage daily. My amazement,
no doubt, is due in part to where
I grew up.
Ann Arbor
areas for all.
But let's dwell on the creative
possibilities that these spaces
offer. What responses do you
think people have had to the
guitar players and blues sing-
ers in the West Hall arch? Is it
silly? Intruding? Pointless or
sad, because "they must have
nothing better to do"? Or is it
viewed favorably? Could it even
be viewed as a blessing?
While Oscar season has us all
trying to pick and choose "the
best" films and performances,
I offer up a call to action for
its antithesis. The context of
public space doesn't presuppose
quality, nor is there an institu-
tion behind the performances,
planning, binding and timing.
And even if people can get "spot-
ted," the space doesn't offer an
item for a resume. Anyone can
partake, the novice and the vir-
tuoso, the professional and the
non-professional, at anytime.
This is not to saythat we should
not build our resumes nor that
the performances at Hill Audito-
rium or the like are necessarily
wrong. I'm writing this because
I want to raise up public space
as another possibility, a site with
a unique set of qualities and
opportunities.
Ann Arbor has a great deal
of public performers: the Violin
Monster, Jack and the Bear,
Brian Woolridge who dances
to Michael Jackson in graffiti
alley or Tom Goss playing the
harmonica and washboard in
the DIAG. I personally have
found these performances the
most enjoyable, and not on any
grounds of good or bad art, but
simply because they always
catch me off guard.
Bohn is hanging out in all
the public spaces. To join,
e-mail jobohn@umich.edu

"Art for me is like religion
because, without it, I getlost."
A world-renowned ceramist,
Sadashi Inuzuka's transcendent
art is celebrated for exploring
the overlap between the natural
world, science and society. Over
the past 20 years, Inuzuka has
exhibited his work to national and
an international audiences. Cur-
rently, he is an associate professor
at the Penny W. Stamps School of
Art & Design.
"I was born and raised in
Japan," Inuzuka said. "Japan is a
democratic country, yet when you
are there, youhave an obligation to
society, an obligation to your fam-
ily, and there are so many other
elements like religion, culture and
tradition. Japan's social structure
is not obvious under the layers of
social hierarchy."
After having been deemed
legally blind, Inuzuka was dis-
couraged from pursuing a career
in the arts, but he used his visual

Brater considers the arts as a tool for cor
impairment as a motivation to
reach out to other disabled indi-
viduals and to help them discover
their own artistic identities.
"I did not feel free," he said. "I
grew up in a very rigid manner. I
was a very sensitive kid, butI could
not show that. When I was a young
boy, I wanted to come to America
because that's almost the opposite
of that experience. Here, there's
the possibility to be someone.
You'll be given chances no matter
where you come from or who you
are - that's my belief."
Inuzuka's college experience
was different than that of most stu-
dents. He was 30 years old when he
attended college in Canada, but it
was not his age that set him apart,
but rather his experience.

nnecting with others.
"I could not go to college in
Japan," lie said. "I was a very
different student. I was always
against that rigid structure, so
until (age) 30, I was working in
many different jobs, but I always
believed that I could do something.
I failed so many times. My life was
never smooth. I realize now how
hard it is tobe an artist, and work-
ing hard is simply not enough."
Inuzuka has gone on to receive
world-wide recognition for his
innovative work in the field of
ceramics. He is the recipient of
multiple awards and grants, some
of which include The Canada
Council for the Arts, The National
Association of Japanese Canadians
Project Grant, The Ontario Arts
Council Crafts Grant and The Brit-

ish Columbia Cultural Fund Schol-
arship.
Regardless of the prominence
and respect that he has gained as
an artist, Inuzuka considers art an
essential part of his life.
"I'm not working for recogni-
tion. I'm working for myself. I
need that freedom of art to really
think about who I (am) and why
I'm here."
Inuzuka said he emphasizes
this way of thinking to his stu-
dents.
"I'm not sure what I can teach.
All I can teach is my experience. I
want to teach about the freedom
in art because that's the reason
why I'm here and, for me, that's
never changed."
-TEHREEM SAJJAD

a

SINGLE REVIEW

those unversed in
Bronson, know he's
-e confidence than you.
urmet
rned-
has a
remi- Strity 4
of
ace MyWeeps
a Action
of Bronson
like
and Vice
ent
with
metaphors than a cre-
riting class.

t
4 "9
v
f r ti . d i

i

Bronson's "old is new again"
steez.
Unsurprisingly, Bronzile-
ano's got jokes. Whether lam-
pooning himself ("now my
beard look like Uday and
Qusay") or the 'royal rap you'
("take you back to 5th grade,

punch you in your face like
picture day"), the son of Alba-
nian immigrants continues
cementing his unique place
in the underground world,
and may find himself aboveg-
round pretty soon.
-ANDREW ECKHOUS

4 4

4

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