“The world is in crisis,” the Six Degrees Citizen Space 2016 conference website warns its visitors. “We thought we were heading towards more inclusive societies. Instead, we are at risk of regressing to cruder and more exclusionary notions of belonging.”
It’s a dire message, but not one made in the absence of hope.
Organized by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Six Degrees Citizen Space was a two-day, three-night conference held September 19 – 21, 2016, at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Weston Family Learning Centre. Claimed to become an annual event, this year’s inaugural edition brought together “thinkers, doers, artists, politicians and civil society leaders” to question and find solutions to the challenge of developing inclusive societies globally.
Organizers promised the use of bold methods, and the recasting of failing, outdated ideas as part of the Six Degrees Citizen Space mandate to propose radical, practical solutions in its examination of the role of citizenship in the 21st century.
Included in the event was an interactive installation run by Mosaic, an ‘experimental’ marketing agency, which featured three ‘70s vintage Olympia Monica typewriters supplied by the Typewriter Factory. The typing kiosk invited Six Degrees Citizen Space 2016 attendees to contribute a message limited to five words that was a synopsis of their views on inclusion.
After the message had been completed each attendee had their portrait taken, which in turn was mounted on a wall alongside their typed thoughts. By the conclusion of the conference a dense collage of uniquely typed ideas and high-contrast photos had been created that not only made a powerful visual statement, but was also a divining rod for the mindset of conference participants.
Photos: TJ Tak (Mosaic)