For the fourth year, Sergio Vucci and Andy Sturdevant will be leading Common Room, a series of artist-led tours originating at The Soap Factory and heading by foot, bicycle and mass transit into Minneapolis, seeking to activate public spaces and redefining our relationship with our surroundings.
Common Room began as a month-long series of interactive art events, out of a refurbished art deco office at The Soap Factory. Since 2011, Vucci and Sturdevant have taken the Common Room concept outside the four walls of the Soap Factory and into the city.
All tours will depart from the Common Room sign at The Soap Factory’s front dock at precisely 6:30 p.m.
August 1st: Mall of America Tour
Tour on foot and via light rail - participants must bring money for their fare
Trying to make sense of the eight million square foot capitalist fever dream that is the Mall of America has been a favorite of locals since it opened in 1992. What do we do with such a place? What does it say about Minnesota? Is the MOA something to be proud of and awed by, or something to be ashamed of? Andy Sturdevant, who will admit to never liking the Mall very much, will lead a sympathetic, in-depth tour of the MOA’s history, inner workings, secret highlights, notable attractions, and complex, enduring influence on the state’s self-image.
August 8th: Skyway Tour
Tour on foot
Go into the skyway system, and ask a passerby, “Why does Minneapolis have skyways?” Odds are they would say something about the weather. Popular narratives of the skyway system today begin with the premise that they were built to shelter residents from the city’s notoriously long and cold winters. Yet when the downtown skyway system was originally conceived, concerns about the cold weather climate were nowhere to be found. This after-hours tour of Minneapolis’ skyway system, with historical facts, highlights and a roving Q&A, will be led by geographer and “sidewalk philosopher” Bill Lindeke.
August 15th: Urban Agriculture Tour
Tour by bicycle, participants must supply their own bicycle. A Nice Ride station is located adjacent to The Soap Factory
Local geographer Valentine Cadieux leads Common Room on a farmer’s tour of Minneapolis, exploring agricultural pockets within urban Minneapolis. Cadieux will lead this expedition through small-scale city farms, apiaries and hobby orchards, all tucked neatly within the folds of the city’s streets and neighborhoods.
August 22nd: Invisible Minneapolis Tour
Tour on foot
Imagine the Block E site as a downtown park modeled after The Boston Commons. Invisible Minneapolis is a tour of Minneapolis’ ghost structures and sites that never were because they lost out to alternate plans. A series of guest presenters will discuss some controversial and some unknown sites that almost were. Invisible Minneapolis aims at exploring the juxtaposition between the reality of what is Minneapolis and the alternate reality of what almost was Minneapolis.