On Friday, August 5, 2011 [6:00pm - 9:00pm], the Periscope Project will host a reception for an exhibition that showcases student work from this summer’s Urban Laboratories.

The Urban Labs program is the second formal educational project at Periscope, and the first working directly with high school students. In the summer of 2010, a design / build studio was conducted through Newschool of Architecture and Design as a formalization of the methods by which Periscope was constructed in the first place: much of the project’s embodied labor is attributable to the tireless and enthusiastic contributions of students. Recognizing the appeal of Periscope to students as such, it has become a supplemental micro-institution. In such a space, the hierarchies of traditional educational systems can be bracketed, allowing  students to develop for themselves a greater sense of ownership, connection, and tangible engagement.

Over the past several weeks, resident artists and educators at Periscope have been working with small groups of high school students in focused workshops that engage the urban territory surrounding Periscope’s facilities. Opening up this space as a classroom, the programs introduce students to intensive visual / analytical / collaborative practice, and foster a deeper understanding of the symbols, structures and ecologies that form San Diego’s urban public realm.

Session one, led by James Enos and Andrea Ngan, has focused on mediating ground-level experience of the urban environment (begun with day long walks) via photography, drawing, and collaborative collage. Session 2, led by Keith Muller and David Kim, continues to introduce students to the varied meanings of urban space, as they explore the signs that designate public and private realms, and DIY techniques for responding to these situations: from street furniture to water-bottle hydroponics.

Working with students from the Preuss School UCSD, Monarch School, Francis Parker School and San Diego High School, the labs have functioned as a temporary respite from the pressures of evaluation allowing students to creatively explore: fostering a sense of connection and opening up new conduits for learning. Student exercises, as well as culminating representations and artifacts will be on display.