After spending a class period with the brilliant Keetra Dean Dixon last week some great ideas emerged from my research and I was able to nail down how I am going to capture, commemorate, and communicate the culture of Kansas City. As mentioned in a previous post, the monument will commemorate the culture of Kansas City in a way that dispels myths and hearsay of it being a 'cow town' being nothing more than an isolated, small, and rather unsophisticated city. I based this direction upon my own realization of Kansas City when I moved here, and i have also sought inspiration in Norman Rockwell's painting, The Spirit of Kansas City. Aiming to portray Kansas City as a sophisticated, independent, and progressive gateway to the mid-west; empowering minds and inspiring great endeavors.
Essentially, the direction I am pursuing revolved around these expectations of KC and the true discoveries the lay underneath the surface; more or less, the 'diamond in the rough'. I feel that for these discoveries to be made, the audience needs to be prompted with some sort of provoking structure, this is where the idea utilizing doorways came in. Using the doorways and a nondescript way to frame particular areas of interest; framing discoveries and creating unexpected moments that may otherwise be overlooked. The door acts as a threshold, moving from one dimension to the next, a right of passage that could symbolically act as the 'before and after'. I found in also interesting to see how this idea could be expanded to that of a doorbell, doormat, or peep-hole —several of these ideas may work in provoking other senses such as auditory in addition to sight and touch.
Considering that commemorating all of Kansas City in this way would prove to be a large task, I have decided to focus of 5 unique elements that, I feel, have made KC what it is today.
01. Walt Disney & Laugh-O-Gram studios — Marks the start to the career of a very ambitious and successful individual; although finding financial troubles with Laugh-O-Gram, it was the launchpad for his many successes in the movie industry's capital city.
02. J.C. Nichols & the Country Club Plaza — Modeled after the city Seville, Spain, Nichols developed the Country Club Plaza that is well known for beautiful Ward Parkway. At it's inception the Plaza was the world's first shopping center designed specifically to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile.
03. TWA Corporate Headquarters — Because of Kansas City's central location; in it's hay-day, Transcontinental & Western Airlines (Trans World Airlines) established KC as the hub of national aviation.
04. West Bottoms — Referred to the beginnings of Kansas City as the establishment of industry and the railroad anchored KC and it's development for the years to come; the first Union Station was also build here to accommodate the centrality of the rail systems.
05. 'The City of Fountains' — Kansas City is home to over 200 fountains, only second to Italy and Rome; serving a practical purpose implemented by the Humane Society to provide clean water to unfortunate women and animals.
Playing with this idea of KC being somewhat of a 'diamond in the rough' and dispelling these expectations with discoveries I began playing with these name pairings...
'Diamond in the Rough'
'Spirit of Kansas City'
'Gateway to the World' (TWA)
'Paris of the Plains' (prohibition)
'Heat of America'
Perspective; related to the future
Angle/aspect/frame of reference
Brink; dawn, frontier
Corridor; portal; avenue
Discovery Point; uncover;
Framing discoveries; perspectives; doors of opportunity
It would also be interesting working with the juxtaposition of the 'cow town' image and the true image of industry, inspiration, and independence.