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projects spaces




Mechanism for Bench

Mar 2009



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Can You Hear Me? by Julianneswartz – 2004

Mar 2009


“Can You Hear Me? (2004) is a site-specific interactive sculpture installed on the exterior of the building that houses The Sunshine Hotel, one of the last remaining flop houses (Single Residence Occupancy) on the Bowery. The piece was created for Counter Culture, a show that the New Museum of Contemporary Art organized to inaugurate their new neighborhood. The parking lot next door to the hotel is the future site of the museum. I sited my piece at the Sunshine to explore the complicated social dynamics of the situation and perhaps create an opportunity for a person- to- person connection within an uncanny context.

The sculpture is a functional alternative “telephone”. It uses PVC pipe and mirrors to make an aural and visual communication link from the second floor lobby of the Sunshine Hotel, to the street below. Passers-by on the street can call up through the tube and be heard in the Sunshine’s communal lobby area. If a resident chooses to answer the call and engage in a conversation through the tube, the sculpture offers a space to have a face to face conversation over a distance of 36 feet. The natural acoustics of the PVC pipe amplify and carry the sound of each person’s voice, creating an aural proximity. At the same time, a periscopic mirror system in the tubes carries the image of the person’s face you are speaking to, but it appears very small and upside-down, visually emphasizing the distance between the two conversants.

The title references the first message heard through wire transmission during Alexander Graham Bell’s early experiments with telephone communication. ”


Sophie Calle in NY – 1994

Mar 2009


Calle asked writer friend Paul Auster for some pointers as to how to behave. His “Personal Instructions for Sophie Calle on How to Improve Life in New York City” read “Keep Smiling. Talk to Strangers. Give Food and Cigarettes to the Homeless. Appropriate a Public Space.” “I followed his instructions,” writes Calle. She took over a phone booth in lower Manhattan, decorating it with flowers, providing chairs, talking and smiling to passers-by, handing out sandwiches and cigarettes – and documenting her daily activities.

Have a seat by Caroline Woolard

Mar 2009

have a seat.JPG

“…reclaiming public space. It is a platform for a new vantage point on the street. As seating bolted to no parking signs in New York, Have a Seat offers rest and contemplation in transitional spaces.

In the city, the street should be a destination in itself. Many people use the street to get from one place to another, but it is an invaluable arena for immediate interaction. Instead of walking to a park or other zone calculated for relaxation, Have a Seat serves those people who want to pause amidst action for a direct perspective on the momentum of the city.

Have a Seat makes everyday environments strange, pushing for a moment to reevaluate the monotony of consistent routine…
Although disembodied conversations (Blackberry, cell phone, etc) and narrative accompaniment (iPods) inevitably insulate individuals from this reality, I hope that a symbol of rest amidst action allows some people to create immediate connection with the street. ”

Manhole covers from the 21st century?

Mar 2009

Manhole covers from the 21st century?: “

Street trap

Street trap!

Street ‘traps’ or elevators are definitely an interesting feature of cities that I am noticing lately (Paris and Lyon above, Geneva below).

Beware of the trap?

These devices definitely remind me of the pipes in Mario Bros, sort of tubes that allow people to be transferred to some underground secret world:

Mario Bros screenshot

Beyond this aesthetic concern, they do exemplify the 3D nature of cities. More importantly, this hidden stairs/elevators are important as they reveal the underlying infrastructure of the city as well as the need to access this infrastructure (sewage, electrical station, etc.) to fix things. It’s the sort of modern version of manhole covers in a more technological fashion.

(Via Pasta&Vinegar.)


Mar 2009

Robot Parade from Jared Foster on Vimeo.

Why NY doesn’t have this?

Mar 2009


Article in the StreetsBlog that talks about this problematic issue in NYC

RFID Guardian – Melanie RieBack

Mar 2009

Anxious society

Feb 2009

“My girlfriend didn’t used to have mobile phone and we were quite OK; and now when I text her, when she doesn’t takes back in ten minutes I get completely upset. Because I think something is wrong, because I worry all the time. When I didn’t have the technology to express my worries with, I was much happier…

…Yeah, much calmer! And now, all that stuff just makes me nervous. So, this is just me, now this has become the whole society. The whole society is becoming more nervous because of all these gadgets”

interview with Rob van Kranenburg

Two references – Article and Presentation by Matt Jones

Feb 2009

>> about location-awareness
“Exporting the past into the future or the possibility jelly lives on the hypersurface of the present”

>> The Demon-Haunted World
Talk given at Webstock, February 2009 – slideshow with notes



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