I thought this juxtaposition of vacant shops and a luxury car in Uptown Waterloo last week was interesting. Shortly after I did a spring photo survey of King Street in Downtown Kitchener, I did a similar survey of UTW between William and Central. Didn’t publish the later survey, but I did notice as many similarities between the cities as I did the differences.
From the public square, this is Waterloo.
My friend Marcel O’Gorman, an Associate Professor at UW and makerly art instigator, shot me an email a couple weeks back suggesting I come by Kitchener City Hall on a Sunday night to see something cool.
One of his XDM students, Matthew Schwager lit up an installation piece that projected on the west wing live video of eyes captured down at street level. The piece was called Behemoth. It was as if the building looked out at the city. Hey, you may remember Matthew from this Critical Media Lab post I did back in April.
The photo above shows the rooftop laptop hooked to the Christie projector and showing video of Laurel O’Gorman’s eyes from down at King and Gaukel. There’s 305 King in the background.
I’ve got a few more pics for you but first, two things:
1. I like this place where we live. Where a friend reaches out and says come downtown and check out this art. We’re not sure it’s going to work.
2. Where makebright provides value, I sometimes ask for a few words describing that value, so I can promote my business and hopefully keep it all going. Marcel offered the following, which I’ve cross-posted to my Recognition page: “Quietly haunting the inner city, Darin White is the region’s most inspired and talented urban documentarian. I would be hard pressed to find anyone else who is as dedicated not only to the local arts scene, but to the life of the city itself. Darin gives us new eyes through which to see our urban life, powered by his contemplative curiosity and contagious enthusiasm. Were he not such a great photographer and storyteller, I would urge Darin to run for mayor.”
Ok, with Canadian modesty re-enabled, here are the pics…
Night provides its own sepia filter.
On King Street out front of Chainsaw, this is Waterloo.
Brohemus and I were wandering the streets one recent Brother Night, as we’re known to do, and I heard the rumble of skate wheels just in time to spin and crouch to get this shot in near-darkness. Always love the summer night shoots. Here’s to the skaters.
On King Street near Willis Way, this is Waterloo.
Allegory of the Farmers’ Market.
On Weber Street North, this is Waterloo Region.
As seen at Harmony Lunch on King in UTW. I love sidewalk chalk signs. By the nature of their impermanence, they are Evidence of Human Life.
At King and Young, this is Waterloo.
Recently I was asked why I photograph things that disturb me. I don’t entirely know how to answer that, but I’d start by saying it’s part of my process for making sense of the world. It’s a record. And in those images I look for patterns or the absence of pattern. Human perception and memory, being subjective and often unreliable, can benefit from some stills captured. Today, two weeks after shooting this half-eaten macaroni dinner discarded at the side of Charles Street in DTK, I go back to that photo and notice that the fork left in the box is metal flatware and not disposable plastic. What does that mean?
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six years photographing and primarily sharing good things that otherwise have limited visibility in the community. They’re just below the waterline. That was part of the original ethos of makebright: focus on the positive. It’s not that I didn’t see the problems within the community. Those seem to fill the bulk of coverage in traditional media, so there seemed little benefit to anyone for me to jump in. What I’ve begun to realize in my travels are two things:
1. Focusing exclusively on the positive makes me a contributor to a potential reality distortion field here in Waterloo Region. “Everything is awesome!” Cheerleading in moderation makes everyone feel good. Too much of it leads to self-delusion. Gotta shoot for balance and some objective understanding of our ecosystem.
2. For us to robustly prosper as a community, we’ve really got to put a hand out to those most in need. The problems are complex and difficult, but if we can’t help the most vulnerable within our community then all the economic prosperity of tech companies and reinvention of manufacturing and world-leading scientific research in WR won’t make us whole.
So what’s with this discarded macaroni? Maybe just someone with the munchies heading out to the bars. Or maybe it’s someone with neither roof overhead, nor kitchen table on which to eat dinner. Or what about this one…
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to catch a talk by Google’s Senior Engineering Director and Country Product Lead for Canada, Steve Woods. It was a talk on diversity in the context of Communitech’s Women in Technology Peer2Peer group.
My motivation for going was twofold. First, I’ve been working pretty hard with a talented crew on lighting up Maker Expo, which explains the dearth of posts here on makebright as most of my output has been diverted to the Maker Expo Blog. For that event we’ve put a lot of effort and thought into an honest attempt at diversity along the six dimensions of affluence, ethnicity, age, gender, locale, and makerly domain. Spoiler: in agreement with Woods, I can tell you diversity is difficult and necessary.
On the second count, I’m very curious about this giant and somewhat inaccessible force within our community called Google. I have a number of friends who work there, though like seasoned tech professionals we don’t talk about what we work on. I enviously watch the progress of the Google-hired mobile tire service on Joseph St. seasonally swapping employee tires twice a year. And I’ve even been upstairs for lunch in the Google cafeteria where I caught a glimpse of Myke Predko(!) demo’ing edu-bots for googlers (hey, I bought his Microchip PIC book back in the day and distantly shared organizational orbits of IBM Canada and RIM with him through my career). Yet still Google in its local instantiation at Victoria and Charles Streets is a mystery.
Posted in event
Tagged Google, Kitchener
You know how sometimes when parking your bicycle you forget to lock up more than just the wheel…
At Victoria and Oak, this is Kitchener.
At the Grand Porch Party a couple of weeks ago, I found more than one kind of string.
On Euclid Ave, this is Waterloo.