Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Preparation Pictures

Over the last few days we have been at the shop at Laura's studio in the street, walking the dog and generally working until we drop a quick selection of images summing it all up.

Empty Shop preperations

Empty Shop preperations

Empty Shop preperations

Empty Shop preperations

Empty Shop preperations

Empty Shop preperations

Monday, 28 June 2010


Updated schedule including the Friday lunchtime shoe customisation workshop and hack/flash's Saturday slot. Very exciting!

Friday the 2nd Lunchtime event confirmed!

We are really pleased to confirm the ARKADE Friday lunchtime event. Lucy Lilley, a Cardiff based artist specialising in textiles and clothes recycling will be hosting a lunchtime craft workshop If Shoes Could Talk in which she will be inviting people to customise old shoes which will then be displayed in the shop window. So if you are looking for something to do this Friday lunchtime, grab yourself a sandwich and drop in to Castle Arcade for a crafty lunch!

Innovative Funding

As you know the last few months we have been busy working on the empty shop project - ARKADE which has basically been created by huge amount of good old fashioned community spirit. The community that has been created as a result of this project is an unusual one and every week I am amazed at the amount of different people who have come along to our Wednesday club just to help out and get involved, donating their time, ideas, projects and anything else they can offer - its quite fantastic.

But like any project there are still things that cost money from light bulbs to insurance and although they are only small amounts ARK LAB's next project will be some retrospective fund-raising (once we have had a break that is). So once again will be calling on people to come along to our Wednesday club with ideas to help fund raise, so get your thinking caps on! In the meantime take a look at this amazing kickstarter site where you can pitch a project and people can pledge money to support it. I particularly liked the ARTfarm project as it looks like something ARK LAB would get involved in.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The first steps - painting and window dressing

This weekend saw a great moment for ARK LAB. We managed to actually get into the shop and start getting ready for next week. We were there do get through a run through of the weekend events. For some this is more complicated than others. For myself and Simon who are arranging the Friday workshops it was more about how we could work on both of the workshops without having to move the space around totally.

We also had some great news with regards to Saturday. We had always really wanted a poll/peoples voice type project in the space which would run for most of the day and hopefully involve the public about issues either surrounding the Arcades or general Cardiff social issues, so it was great when Hack Flash confirmed they are going to put on an event surrounding their ongoing project We are Cardiff. We are really happy to have them doing something that is really close the the work we are doing but in an art based way.

A VERY quick video of our journey to the shop. The sound is very happy hardcore, which is kind of fun. I hope

Friday, 25 June 2010

Academy into Urban Psychology

This Wednesday club was one of those great evenings. We managed to change subject from the empty shop project and we held a small event about how places are rich in emotions and feelings. Which in some ways are never intended. The example being the local bar stool. In a physical way it has four legs generally wooden and square with a small round padded seat area (I always think of them as being red). However there are so many other memories and emotions that come from these types of object. The feeling of being slightly awkwardly perched, straining to listen to the rest of the group's dialogue. The moment of pain as you stand up having been sat on it, with your back arched, for what seems like hours. Or maybe the last time you saw a friend you were in the corner of an old pub sitting on these stools that were the only available seating.

The evening was hosted and informally chaired by Michael or 'Tan' as we know him and he had invited a recent architecture graduate Yi Liu who studies in Cardiff and Shanghai. The mix of people was very interesting and I think everyone got something out if it as it could be so easily related to other peoples practices and ways of working and living. I hope everyone else though the same. We will do more we promise.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

ARK LAB in Design Week



We are really happy to announce that we got a small piece in the Week's Design Week. You can read the whole article at the below link. Thank's to Paul for the help in getting us in the edition. It is great to get some wider coverage for the projects that we are getting in.

Also we managed to get another piece covering the launch of the shop project below:

Finally congratulations to Hoffi who also managed to get a piece in Design Week.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

"Imagining Cardiff" workshop for community groups

We are getting very excited about the "Imagining Cardiff" workshop. The invite has gone out to a wide range of groups across different sectors (e.g. climate change, ageing, refugees, youth action, food) across Cardiff and South Wales.

An ARKADE Public Announcement...

Monday, 21 June 2010

ARKADE Short Film Cinema

We are very pleased to announce that the Cardiff based film maker, animator and video artist Carolina Vasquez has taken on the task of curating the short film cinema on Sunday the 4th of July. So with only 2 weeks to go...


Do you have an innovative, exciting film you'd like to show as part of ARK's Empty Shops Film Screening on 4 July?

If you do, then we'd like to hear from you! They can be documentary, animation, music film, comedy, drama, gangster, experimental or anything you like as long as you think people want to watch it.

All films must be under 10 minutes. Deadline 28th of June.

Please submit films as quicktime files on a dvd. Contact for additional information.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


This was the question we were faced with yesterday, at Creative Industries ktn's event, near Tower Bridge, London yesterday. With the question itself being so important to a number of ARK members Wednesday club was a split affair. There was the usual 7pm meeting at Cardiff Arts Institute and then a satellite group of us attending the London event. The picture below is of the talkaoke table which is an interesting way of controlling this type of event. I have attached a video of the system.


The event's running order had some great names which you can find more information here The event itself was well run and I personally learnt a few new things. But as always I feel the real feeling about these events leaves me with is, helplessness and also a lack of action. Indeed for us at ARK we started it up to try and involve, engage and do. To the extent that we try and get people to make commitments to do and interact.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Not so empty shop

Just a quick update on how the project is going, the timetable is filling up nicely but we do still have a few spots to fill. The tricky bit is how to make maximum use of the space- as the shop is divided into a larger and a smaller space it should be possible to have 2 different things happening at the same time as long as one doesn't interfere with the other.
We are looking for people to get involved with the decor/design/lighting of the shop, so please contact us if this is something you would be interested in. We are currently working on getting a UK charity involved with lighting and furniture so fingers crossed about that.
On Sunday we will be having a short film cinema, showing films made by local filmmakers, so if you have something you would like to submit then please let us know.
We'll be in Cardiff Arts institute at 7pm this evening so please drop in!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Signage coming along nicely

matteo's creation

This is a quick snap of the work in progress for the shop signage. Matteo has been a legend and is making it for us in his spare time. So a big thank you in offering to help us out. You can see what he gets up to in his day to day life here. The project is going well but there is still loads to do hopefully we will get it done and will be able to show that through the use of design and art we can involve a broader community within the social issues.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Arcade project moving forward


The week has flown by again and we are getting so close to the Empty Shop project and it's launch at the start of July. We have had some very kind support from people in terms of time and lending us stuff for the event. We could always do with more though so if you want to get involved and help the event be a success that would be great.

We have also started our marketing campaign which we hope is going to be successful in catching a wider audience for the events we are going to be designing and putting on. So look out for it we hope it's going to get some odd expressions. Finally this week we managed to arrange a meeting with Cardiff Universities Beacon for Wales Project which we hope in the future we can bring scientists and researchers involved in ThinkARK's wednesday club and also hopefully in future ARK LAB projects.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

ThinkARK Wednesday meeting in Milgi

Just to remind anyone coming to the Wednesday meeting that we are going to be in Milgi on City Road in Roath this evening at 7, not CAI - though we will be back there next week. Hope to be catching up with people about the Empty Shop project as well as having a good old chinwag as usual.
See you there.

Friday, 4 June 2010

A bit more press about the empty shop project

We have been getting into the empty shop project. As there is less than a MONTH to go, that has gone so fast. I personally have to invite the local businesses to a workshop to see if we can use design thinking to increase communities and joint ventures between each other. We also have the performances to arrange and another community project to get our heads around. When you write it all out the list is huge. I know this because this week Laura showed us it and it goes on and on. Having said that we are ticking them off as we go and we are confident of it being alright on the night.

We do still need your help in making the event a success. So if you are able to help us in getting the word out. Or your handy with a saw or screwdriver. Maybe you have an electrical flair we could do with a bit of advice.

Along with this we have also been getting a bit more coverage from The Guardian website and you can see the latest article here. I am quite happy with the photo as normally I blink at exactly the wrong moment. We are going to be keeping you up to date with the project but if you have any particular questions or queries about it or if you want to ask ARK LAB to get in other projects you maybe involved in then please do not hesitate to contacts us, we would be really interested in hearing from you