Just a quick entry today (because work is quite busy) to say check out this project/idea by Candy Chang, who is an artist, designer, and TED fellow who “makes cities more comfortable for people.”
“I Wish This Was…” is subtitled “civic input onsite” and I think the whole project is marvelous both from the artistic as well as from the pragmatic point of view. Moreover, I think it’s a fascinating representation of a phenomenon I have observed where practices that are commonplace online are migrating into our physical reality.
As the project describes itself,
“This project was inspired by vacant storefronts. There are lots of them where I live in New Orleans. There are also lots of people who need things, including a full-service grocery store. What if we could easily voice what we want, where we want it? How can residents influence the types of stores and services that enter their neighborhood? How can we easily collect demand in an area?”
In this instance, the practice of delivering discrete, individual opinions in a public display format and aggregating that feedback for the public to consider is being put into place in order to gauge opinion on the use of commercial or public space, and ultimately in an effort to convert public spaces into the physical landscapes we communally desire. It’s a veritable public sphere project put into practice in a very analog- yet familiarly online- format.
What are the implications of this? Are we getting over the internet? Has the locavore food movement infected other civic movements? Has the proliferation of mobile devices that can do just as much (and more in some instances) as our computers inspired us to once again take our technology out of a dark and lonely room and use it to interact with our fellow human beings again, outside, in the sun?
Also, the nod to the subjunctive absence satisfies my ere-tortured soul: http://candychang.com/i-wish-this-was-i-wish-this-were/
Check out the project and feel free to post a comment!