Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Five: Interactive Public Art and Engagement Edition

Now that break has passed and I’m getting back into the swing of projects, public engagement and interaction has really been on my mind. Thankfully, I’ve happened upon some great examples this week to share with you! Enjoy, and don’t forget to have fun!

1. Salon De Beauty

Salon of Beauty from Mark & Angela Walley on Vimeo.

Though I am in general a fan of installation art (check out Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory if you have the chance), this piece really struck home with me because it highlighted the everyday within an urban neighborhood in L.A. Though I certainly do not shout love of that Californian city from the rooftops, I found it to be a particularly poignant art piece. The amount of detail is just breathtaking, it is bright and really pulls the beauty out of these businesses in a place that most likely is not appreciated for its beauty. I highly recommend watching the video. Informative, and very visually appealing. If you’d like to learn more about the piece, visit this article.

2. Heidelberg Project

HDNet - "Art From The Ashes: Detroit's Heidelberg Project" from Tilapia Film on Vimeo.

I took my very first trip to Detroit last weekend, and was absolutely blown away by the city. It had an energy and a sense of place that was really unique and genuine. I was happy to be guided by friends around to see not only the blight that has brought the city so much infamy, but also some of the areas that were a living symbol of hope for the region. One of my strongest experiences, however, was randomly stumbling on the Heidelberg Project while aimlessly exploring the city. I would call it an art installation, but really it is a testament of history and creative tension. I wish I could describe it better, but honestly it’s something you couldn’t put your finger on unless you were actually there. We had the fortune of running into Tim Burke of Detroit Industrial Gallery, one of the artists involved in the project. Wonderful man very connected with the history of the city. I highly recommend making a visit there sometime.

One photo I took... click it to visit my gallery all about Detroit!

3. City Fireflies: Group Video Game in Madrid Plaza

City Fireflies v0.2 from Victor Diaz on Vimeo.

Who doesn’t love to play video games? Particularly when they involve your cell phone and a group of friends—or better yet, strangers? Making the city fun is a movement that I can really get behind, and this is one of the better interactive tools I’ve seen (though also quite a bit more expensive). City Fireflies is a group video game set up in Madrid Plaza that really promotes healthy competition and interaction. Besides, this is one of the few ones I’d be able to play despite the fact I don’t own a smartphone. Unless my archaic flip phone doesn’t put out enough light… read more about it here.

4. Looking for Love Again

Image via CivicCenter

This tool is far less expensive or difficult to implement, but is of course much more effective for gaining public feedback (unless you’ve got some guy administering surveys at the site of the videogame site). At the same time, however, it is very interactive and brings that element of fun and placemaking to the installation. Looking for Love Again is a public art project that targets abandoned buildings, highlighting the memories that residents had of these particular structures as well as what they hope is in store for them. The idea of love in any campaign for a city is one to which I will definitely lend my support. Read more about the project here and here you can find a great article mentioning it that talks about collaborative, creative placemaking.

5. Mobility Lab

A story was published at Atlantic Cities about an R&D lab for transit tech tools that goes by the name of Mobility Lab. The organization works to make riding transit easier for residents by making information accessible—both practically and psychologically. Why do a lot of people not ride public transit? It’s confusing and a bit overwhelming for someone who’s never done it. I understand the anxiety felt the first few times you ride the bus. Did I just miss it? Am I going to miss my stop? Even as someone that’s taken public transit for years now, the first time I hopped on the Red Line to get downtown was a bit nerve-wracking. Working with the mighty interwebs and mobile phone apps, kiosks in public (or private) places, and a lot of creativity, the organization is defining and tweaking a way to ease that apprehension and make transit more convenient for residents. Read more about the project here.

Have you seen any particularly interesting tools or pieces? What would you like to see in the Northeast Ohio region? The Rust Belt?

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