THE BIG IDEAS • People and their Gifts. That is all. • Communities have a DNA, Gifts, Legacy, Destiny… • Dream-making is the central act of human civilisation- storytelling, myth- community is a function of it • The centre and the periphery. Myths determine initiation • Men are dangerous- the majority of socialising energy • Men socialise in one way- gangs- initiation, symbology, IRON JOHN- police, ‘tief’, priests… • The further you are from the civilising centre the more the collapse of sanctioned initiations • Gangs emerge in hillside communities- areas distanced from Centres- Yakuza, Mafia, Appalachia, Big Yard, Patna
THE BIG IDEAS • Facilitate peoples Gifts. • Fulfill their DNA, gifts, legacy, and destiny • Allow the channels and vehicles of Dream-making to function • Connect the centre and the periphery • Keep Men occupied!!! • Sublimate gangs into socially constructive forms- Native American dog soldiers • Create new types of settlement and cultural socialising patterns to deal with hillside communities and areas distanced from the Centres
THE GOLDEN AGES • Golden Ages erupted in different outposts of the African diaspora during the 20thcentury • Blues, Jazz, Rock, and Hip-Hop in America; Reggae in Jamaica; Samba in Brazil; Hi-Life in West Africa, and more. • Each Age was revolutionary, changing both the dimensions of their societies and the world. Not just music- ‘ways of seeing’ • Each was propelled by the creativity of marginalized criminal-class black boys aged 12 to 27 who transformed into princes. • There were no ‘public or private sector interventions’... These were spontaneous initiations & eruptions of creativity constellated around the African science of Music… • Golden Ages have provided us with the nerve point endings, the sweet spots, the poetics, the DNA grid in which to transform and initiate the youths. It is related to the DRUM- the African diaspora are Rhythm Nations…
THE BIG IDEAS • EAST PORT OF SPAIN IS THE CRUCIBLE OF PAN, MAS AND CALYPSO AND COULD ARGUABLY BE SAID TO BE THE SOUL OF THE NATION • OF THE 7 MOTHER COMMUNITIES OF T&T IT CAN BE SAID TO BE THE MOTHER OF MOTHERS • THE POWER OF THIS COMMUNITY IS SUCH THAT IN RENAISSANCE OR APOCALYPSE THIS COMMUNITY WILL CARRY THE REST OF THE COUNTRY WITH IT… • During T&T’s Golden Age the gangs and marginal boys of T&T converted themselves into cultural Secret Societies. One set became panmen- orchestras and bands where they became musicians, inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, managers and artists. Another set converted themselves Traditional Mas characters and small, medium and large size Mas bands Yet another set created Calypso Tents and created the entire apparatus and aesthetic form of the Calypso that became a global form of music.
THE POWER OF THOSE CREATIONS • There are 300 Trini-styles carnivals worldwide • They are annually worth more than $15 Billion • In metropolitan economies where you can’t get in to sell a ballpoint pen- we’ve smuggled billion dollar economies • More than 14 million people partake in these carnivals annually • The 2 largest Western festivals are T&T style carnivals • 4 million people are on the streets at their height • These are in cities where if 2 black people lime together at a corner its cause for police action- we have 3 million plus cavorting- a million mutinies happening now- and all the State and City can do is negotiate with it • All this spawned by ‘gang boys’ of East Port of Spain. • They were never thanked nor rewarded. No industries were refined from out of their Gifts.
WHAT IS A GHETTO? • The shadow or transitory space • The way the West deals with the other • The Jewish ghettoes • The Reservation • The Plantation • The Ghetto • The Jail, the School, the Army… • The same thing- captive/control of stimuli/product • The history of the American & African-American ghetto & its global programming- elites programming projects • The evolution of the Western city- lords & serfs, drugs/guns
HISTORY & POLITICS • Global Western hegemony- genocide, expansion • The Apartheid/Slave Society- hierarchies • Global and local post-slavery Colonialism • Marginalisation & Resistance- creating alternative institutions • Independence- post apartheid politics & the collapse of the indigenous- PNM and globally
EAST PORT OF SPAIN RENAISSANCE • The E POS Heritage City and the rehabilitation project must be an integrated, multi-tiered, multidimensional programme with culture-based, architectural-based, police-based, counseling-based, and social-programme-based solutions. • These programmes must be creatively harmonized and resolved. • The PUSH & PULL factors must be scheduled and deployed simultaneously. Law enforcement must provide the PUSH- progressive social programmes must provide the PULL. They must work together… • The choreography of how these programmes are deployed is crucial. • The processes by which these programmes are created, staffed and sustained are as important and critical as the results themselves. • EVERYTHING IS HARMONISED IN HERITAGE & LIVING CULTURE
THE PEOPLE!!! • This is also not just an architectural exercise- this is fundamentally about people. People who historically have been amongst our most creative citizens and who have gifted this country with a multibillion dollar multi-tiered carnival and creative industry. • These people have reciprocally been marginalized into extreme poverty and dependence and into cycles of intercommunity violence and criminality that now threaten the entire nation. • The challenge is to reverse the current polarity which is towards disintegration and instead redirect it towards individual and communal empowerment so that they become amongst the most productive and significant contributors to our national patrimony.
CREATE POLES OF STENGTH & INFLUENCE • We must create Poles of Strength around existing community institutions and cultural strongholds that have resisted historical patterns of marginalization and overt oppression. THESE ARE THE CIVILISING CENTRES!!! • These centres must be resourced, redefined and recalibrated as rooted but modern, purpose-built, people-centred, and creatively administrated institutions. This redesign of these institutions must be architectural and programme-based and must come from the real needs and solutions created by the people. • The idea is to have the 90,000 people of East Port of Spain- in all their various communities- all serviced by a series of interlocking civic institutions that are harmonized around the idea of the best ideals of the Community.
THE INSTITUTIONS THAT MUST BE THE CENTRAL POINTS OF RESOURCE, REDESIGN AND ACTIVITY ARE: • Community Centres- completely redesigned with a minimum set of specs as ‘Centres of Citizenship’ • Panyards- using the Lloyd Best Schools-in-Pan model with an architectural re-outfitting • Heritage & Cultural Sites- the Memory Sites of the community that connect it to its best Self • Sports Grounds- must be plentiful including innovative ideas like SMALL GOAL PITCHES • Schools- must be completely re-envisioned along the best-practice lines stated • Shrines/Temples/Churches- have their place in the provision of spiritual and social guidance • Indigenous Industrial Centres- hosts of industries from gifts
THE COMMUNITY’S REQUESTS • Community ownership: All interventions must be owned by the community- at least 51% • Consultation • Education • Industry & Business • Culture & Heritage • The Map & the Grid
THE MAP: • A MAP MUST BE CREATED OFTHE ENTIRE COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTING THE POSITIONS OF ALL THE MAJOR CIVIC INSTITUTIONS WHICH ARE IDENTIFIED AS POLES OF POWER. THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY MUST BE DESIGNED IN SUCH A WAY THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS SERVICED BY AT LEAST TWO OR THREE OF THESE SIGNFICANT CENTRES WITHIN THEIR RADII. • Consultations within the community have conceived of a series of indigenous organizations which are deemed critical to their advancement: • The Credit Union (CU)- will be the central financial institution of the 90,000 residents of E POS • The Super Market chain- includes labeling, bottling-glass blowing industries- owned by the CU • The Guild of Masters- Carpenters, Masons, etc- this Guild will service reconstruction of all Heritage buildings • The African School- primary, secondary, tertiary level institutions based on African principles • Green Technology Centre- the re-design of E POS is based on Green Principles • The Reclamation of Carnival Industries- Music Trucks, Sound Systems, Stages, Lights, Caterers, Drinks- East Port of Spain will be situating itself at the centre of the global Carnival Industry
THE COMMUNITY’S PLAN: • Versus the politician’s plan • Versus the technocrat’s plan • Versus international agencies’ plans • Versus oligarchy’s plans • Versus international criminal cartel’s plans • Versus, versus, versus…
INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES • There are a number of cities and areas in the world that have had similar problems to East Port of Spain and who have developed best-practice models in the reclamation of collapsing urban centres.
“Our most beautiful buildings must be in our poorest areas,” the words that transformed Columbia’s Medellín
Reductions in violence were rewarded with beautiful buildings. The most beautiful are libraries and centres.
Former mayor Sergio Fajardo and the tramcars that now connect the favellos with the city and services
The programmes have reduced crime by 90%. Medillin- once murder capital of the world is now a touristattraction. The programmes have also won numerous international awards and monetary grants.
‘El Sistema’- Venezuela’shistoricmusicprogramme at work in the community. It has enrolled nearly 400,000 young people in it since its inception
The Promise Centre, centre of the Harlem Children’s Zone- the revolutionary educational district
Children who were once doomed to a life of poverty are now enrolled in top Universities and Colleges
RELEVANT MODELS: • LA Harmony Music Project- Harmony Project, an LA-based non-profit is making thousands of the most vulnerable kids in Los Angeles commit their non-school hours to learning to play a musical instrument in Harmony Project youth orchestras and jazz ensembles • The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa- a girls-only boarding school that officially opened in January 2007 to provide educational and leadership opportunities for academically gifted girls from impoverished backgrounds • CarlinhosBrown transformed childhood slum of Candeal into a national musical warehouse. PracatumAssociation created professional possibilities for young people from the community- trains them in musical professions. Public/private Partnership has transformed the traditional image of favelas. TáRebocado(It’s Plastered) developed methodology founded on community-based, participative and democratic construction-work. TáRebocadobases its actions on opinion polls, census data, weekly community meetings, socioeconomic studies and photo documentation.
POETICS: THE PREMIUM PROJECT THE HOUSE OF MUSIC
THE HOUSE OF MUSIC: This would be the entire block of George & Nelson Street based around the historic Christopher’s Recording StudioA faithfully reconstructed Heritage Building complex like Carnegie Hall
The building would feature modern digital exhibition displays as well as Heritage based performance spaces
Naturally the full recording legacy of T&T will be on display- the 2nd oldest recording industry In the world
A catalogue of 100s of thousands that must be repatriated and made accessible!!!
Displays of old phonographs, historic instruments… An earphone tour and interactive displays will abound
The world’s first platinum album, ethnographic documents, modern multi-platinum local artists all find a home
THE PROCESS IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE PRODUCT • Immediately acquire 2 of the largest collections of memorabilia and music. George Maharaj’s from Canada, and Shawn Randoo’sin Trinidad • Commission Ray Funk from Alaska to finish digitise his collection • The greatest collectors (Maharaj, Randoo, Funk, Hall, Pinehro, Scientist, Robin Forster, Sprang) should immediately be employed as core curators and preservationists • A multi-purposed curated Heritage warehouse must be created to store all acquired artifacts until they find their intended homes • The House of Music site is the centerpiece of the development of East Port of Spain • The site also must be the seat of the Renaissance of the local recording scene with a vinyl record-pressing facility (alongside modern methods) • Project Memory’s audio-visual histories are critical to this enterprise; with books, TV shows, etc • Scholarships must be offered for curators, sculptors and public art persons from the area • The Guild of Masters graduating apprentices (the Guilds of the Brass Band tradition, East Indian musics, African and East Indian Drumming, etc) will form the House of Music’s core cadre • From construction to staffing this project provides the lever for the transformation of the community- Rehabilitation and Renaissance!!!