Variability & play in the third place
As part of my MFA Thesis, I developed a collection of public interactive pieces meant to disrupt the daily routines of urban dwellers with the intention of getting them to interact with other passerby's, or in other words, strangers. The idea is to provoke these magic moments by means of an engineered happenstance, taking advantage of people's natural paths and behaviors in the street.
Key Concept #1
The Third Place
Coined by Sociologist Ray Oldenburg, the Third Place is what we encounter between the 'first place' and 'second place'. He described the home as the first and the workplace as the second, the Third Place is everything in-between: the public realm. He believed that places for gathering and congregation are crucial in the development of a civil society, democracy, and the establishment of a sense of place.
Key Concept #2
The familiar stranger is a social phenomenon first addressed by psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1970's.Familiar Strangers are defined as the individuals we regularly encounter but do not interact with. These characters are intrinsically related to our sense of belonging, the more people we recognize, the more we belong.
Key Concept #3
Based on the Situationist International, an international movement of revolutionaries that strived to dissolve status quo through different tactics and theories. The term 'situationism' refers to the construction of situations as tools for the liberation of everyday life. The situationist manifesto defines it as "The concrete construction of momentary ambiances of life and their transformation into a superior passional quality".
Some of the provocations
The following collages are meant to be provocations of what could be considered urban hacking. They ask the question of how might we use commonplace urban behaviors and locations such as crosswalks, sidewalks, traffic posts, as elements in the creation of these experiences. They are meant to be circuits embedded into the public world, with interchangeable outputs: lights, bubbles, projections. All you need to activate these pieces is two people to complete the circuit.
The Interactive Installations
Arduino, radio transmitters & sensors everywhere
These projects required spending hours understanding the vast range of options for sensors, and understanding how to make radio transmitters talk to each other wirelessly. This video presents the testing of a capacitive sensor as a possible way of using metal elements in the street as triggers, such as bike racks, handrails, etc.
The projects were done Guerilla style, I chose a site and a date and time to intervene, Installation had to be quick and easy, which made me develop a kit of parts, easily assembled and carried from one place to another.
There were two key parts for the set up. The first being the 'buttons' or triggers that wirelessly communicated to each other and to the output device. The second being the output set up, which was a plug and play system that allowed me to plug in anything I'd like, I used a bubble machine in one iteration and colorful string lights in a second.
The giant paver buttons
The buttons used were what I called 'Giant Paver Buttons' and they were made up of a series of sandwiched materials like fabric meshes and paper foil encased in gortex and a graphic allusive to street elements like crosswalks.