Public art project
I am doing a public art project for the City of Urbana, Illinois, called 'In Urbana, I ...".
It's a simple idea, as shown in the attached photos that I took when I was in Urbana on Friday and Saturday. I ask people to complete the phrase "In Urbana, I ..." by writing their response on a whiteboard. I take a picture of them holding the whiteboard. The next participant erases the previous phrase, and writes their own.
That's part 1. Part 2 will be when I print all the pictures in a book, and display them in the Urbana Free Library, a handsome classical-style building from 1918, in a few months' time. All the participants will be invited to the reception, to see their own picture, and to read all the ways in which other people completed the phrase. Even if it's just for a few seconds, the aim is that people in Urbana will see their town a little differently. Maybe it will confirm some things for them, and maybe it will surprise them.
The best part for me has been getting out of the studio, and working directly with people on the street. I've had some great conversations with people, and made contacts that I think will last beyond the project's completion. Just yesterday, when I was stationed in the lobby of the library for four hours, I ended up having a long conversation with a man from Libya, who gave me first hand accounts of the recent events there, talked about his life in the USA, and wrote a phrase on Arabic on the whiteboard. He also persuaded other people to write something in their language, which is how I got a phrase in Russian and phrase in Urdu.