As a wrap-up of our summer programming, we spoke with the organizers of this summer’s LA Forum exhibition — the Free School of Architecture — about their experimental peer-to-peer learning platform, the experience during the summer at the WUHO space in Hollywood, their core beliefs and efforts, and what the future holds.
What surprised you most about this past summer’s FSA session?
The biggest surprise was a very welcome, unexpected and delightful one – that almost everyone we approached about collaborating or supporting FSA this summer was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging of the project – and almost everyone wanted to take part! Everyone we worked with was incredibly patient and generous with us, even through we are still very much finding our feet as an organization. We hope that those who took part found the experience as valuable as we did. Yes, there were points of failure, but from these we can only learn.
How will FSA carry forward or document the goings-on at the session that occurred this past summer at WUHO?
We have all only just recovered from the summer, which was pretty full on! We are picking back up our weekly meetings, but now as a larger group. The purpose of these meetings is to reflect on this year’s session, to share what we can individually and collectively take from it, as well as to start to figure out plans going forward. The Instagram account will be continuing and made into more of an active project to continue the conversations we started with our organization-collaborators over the summer. We are also looking to archive various bits and pieces from the summer. A collector in New York is interested in archiving the zines produced; we will be participating in the roving national exhibition Now What?!, as well as the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation’s Bauhaus Centenary festival, School Fundamental, in spring 2019; and we are looking to publish an account of the summer and the process that got us there. Our website will also continue, acting as more as a point of reference for the general scope of FSA as the organisation proliferates and morphs into next year.
Building on the first two seasons of FSA programming, what would you hope to see from the next iteration?
An important goal for future iterations will be a more a visible thread (or threads) connecting the diverse projects, individuals and organizations who were, are, and will be part of FSA. Those threads have always been there, but always under-the-surface, murky, and hard to articulate. It seemed that this lack of clarity frustrated some of our observers and participants over the summer, which is understandable. FSA takes a maximalist and inclusive approach to ideas, interests and approaches; this has the beautiful advantage of allowing us to bring together seemly very different people and projects who might never have met, and between whom unexpected collaborations start to happen. It also has the disadvantage of not making much sense to the outside. However tangible, connecting ties between our seemingly disparate entities do exist, and making these visible is something we are working towards, whether the next FSA manifests itself once more as a single summer program, or as a multitude of smaller entities spread in pockets across different times and locations.
A bit more abstractly, we will continue to process and discuss the core values of FSA. How can we approach non-hierarchy at a large scale and continue to build? How can we support fair labor practices, value time and energy, but also stay free? The organization plans to analyze and grapple with our two years of experimentation in order to continue to help FSA grow, improve, and maybe become a toolkit for others who hope to engage with peer-to-peer, non-institutional learning!