The Climate Change And American Riad Projects

The Ghana Thinktank Residency Program On Climate Change And Environmental Issues Activism
(2017)
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Ghana Thinktank (GTT) is an international collective that “develops the first world” by flipping traditional power dynamics, allowing the “third world” to intervene into the lives of the people living in the so-called “developed” world. They collect problems from communities throughout the USA and European countries. After that, they send the problems to their collaborator that so-called as the Thinktanks group in “developing” communities to generate its solutions. Nowadays, in order to achieve their goal, The Ghana Thinktank made a cooperation network that spread from Ghana, Cuba, El Salvador, Meksiko, Iran, Serbia, Indonesia, Sudan, Maroko, until India.
The Ghana Thinktank residency program on 11 – 27 March 2017 as part of The GTT Climate Change Project, a long year project as a collaboration between Ghana Thinktank with Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) in Williamstown – Massachusetts. Slightly different from the former GTT projects, this is the GTT first effort to develop their ongoing projects in different approaches. Within this project, GTT and WCMA forming a “Student Action Team” to collect questions and problems of Berkshire citizens as their responses towards the project main question, “How does Climate Change affect YOU?”. Those problems were then sent to Morocco and Indonesia Thinktanks group to generate its solutions, which were also being invited to the United States to help implement their solutions. Within the residency program, Lifepatch as the Indonesian Thinktank was represented by me, “Timbil” Agus Tri Budiarto and Agung “Geger” Firmanto. Meanwhile, the Moroccan ThinkTank was represented by Nadia Elaattar, Mariam Ait Oufkir, and Mehdi Ghinati.
The program itself divided became two main part. The first half was located at the WCMA Rotunda as the site of Climate Change Project exhibition and the main workspace hub with the support of several Williams College facilities to conduct all activities focusing on the Thinktanks problem solution implementation in Williamstown.

Residency venues in around Williams College – Williamstown


Problem Cards And The Thinktank Solutions

 

Implementation of the Thinktank solutions after being discussed thoroughly with Ghana Thinktank, WCMA, and Student Action Team was manifested in some form of activities, Such as B.Y.O.C (Bring Your Own Cup) and Drink From the same vessel in the GTT Reception at WCMA Rotunda, Workshops in Zhilkha Center For Environmental Initiatives and The Paresky Student Center at Williams College, “Labeling And Meal Of The Future” action, and Lifepatch – River and environmental monitoring project at Jogja River Project Presentation at WCMA Rotunda.

Residency activities at around Williamstown and Williams College

Besides of that, there was a city public space intervention action as an implementation of the Thinktank solution about the driving habit in Williamstown.

To complete the solution from Morocco Thinktank group that suggested the Odometer intervention with a parking day (car-free day), I was promoted a cultural approach with “Mampir”, a Javanese culture habit that has tendencies to stop by, drift, come by, or pay a visit to a particular spot or doing different activity on their way to reach their main destination. It’s a habit that makes the journey more meaningful rather than just reaching the destination with the fastest and most efficient way. Within this concept, there are several points so-called as activities magnet that was chosen or made with different activities to attract people just to stop by and made different activities during their journey. The action that was held by the GTT, WCMA and the student action team was made to intervene the activities on Spring Street, the busiest commercial street in Williamstown.


Documentation of Parking Day/Odometer Freeze Action in Spring Street, Williamstown

Documentation of Parking Day/Odometer Freeze Action (Re-Capture from Facebook Live Video that was made by Nina Pelaez – Courtesy of Action Team, Ghana ThinkTank dan Williams College Museum Of Art)
The action itself also was documented and published in Berkshire local newspaper called Berkshire Eagle. The article itself also published on online news that could be accessed on www.berkshireeagle.com.
The last half of residency program was continued in Detroit city – Michigan and became part of the  “American Riad” Project, a collaboration project between Ghana ThinkTank with The North End Woodward Community Organization (NEWCO), Oakland Avenue Artist Coalition (OAAC), North End – Oakland Avenue citizens and many more groups or organisations. Within the project, GTT formed a partnership with a think tank in Morocco to rebuild this corner through arts and culture focusing to rebuild the tradition at Oakland Avenue that rich with cultural history and the Black Arts that was hit by a huge wave of gentrification. This collaboration is conducted to formulate and design an affordable residential community model based on the richness of local art and culture, namely by composing an open space as a binder between three separate buildings into one unified territory and each building has interrelated functions, namely settlement and small business units.
Site for the American Riad – the vacant lot will become a courtyard linking homes and businesses
Within the American Riad Project on the residency program, Lifepatch took a role to make a simple water filtration system as rainwater catchment system support.  Its one of the solution for the water resources problem since the fresh water utility on the site had been cut off when the huge wave of gentrification happened at the North-End district. Besides of making the water filtration, Lifepatch also conducting small public workshops about how to make the simple water filtration with the citizens on around the American Riad neighbourhood and also with people on the Affirming Love Ministries (ALM) Church.

Water Filtration Public Workshops


The making of Water Filtration System at American Riad community house

The other related links and news
The Climate Change Project on the Ghana Thinktank Oficial Website
– The American Riad Project on the Ghana Thinktank Oficial Website
The Collaboration of Ghana Thinktank and WCMA on the William College Museum of Art (WCMA) Official Website
The Presentasi ThinSlice Climate Change / River Project on Williams College Museum Of Art Official Website
– The PARKing Day with Ghana ThinkTank on the William College Museum of Art (WCMA) Official Website

Published On Local Newspaper:
– Artikel Williams College Museum of Art, students work to revive Detroit neighbourhood with art Dalam The Berkshire Eagle
– Artikel Williams students turn parking spaces into ‘parks’ to call attention to climate change Dalam The Berkshire Eagle