Repost: ‘I Just wanted to Say’ on Burning Man Blog

4 03 2011

Thanks to Jess for repost on Burning Man

Design is too often seen as a superfluous and elitist preoccupation. In this project, however, Yen moves beyond the realm of logos, posters and objects and uses design as opportunity and agent for change. This project re-imagines design concepts typically found in public transport signs as an opportunity for interaction and conversation. Namely, it takes the idea of “priority seating” and adds a unique twist.

Easily accessible seats on public transport are universal. They have traditionally been designated for elderly and disabled based on both a culture of courtesy and handicap access legislation. This project uses similar visual design to create “priority seating for people who want conversation,” helping to cultivate “a culture of friendliness.”

Finally, someone has articulated what I’ve been trying to say for awhile. “Design as opportunity and agent for change”….I’m totally going have to steal that line.

What makes this project interesting — and relevant to the cultivation of Black Rock City spirit — is its call for participation

I only know a little about Burning Man, from a documentary I saw once. It is grounded in 10 principles, which I think are strong ideas that could be easily adapted principles to urban community building (and good collaborative design process):

1. Radical Inclusion
2. Gifting
3. Decommodification
4. Radical Self-reliance
5. Radical Self-expression
6. Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
7. Civic Responsibility
8. Leaving No Trace
9. Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
10. Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience




2 responses

8 03 2011

I’m glad you saw my post on the Burning Blog. I ran into your project online and just fell in love with what you are doing and had to share. I have been looking for interesting urban/public art projects that seek audience participation as a key element of the project. In this pursuit I happily found your work.

Especially key in my enjoyment of your project was the wording on your signs:
“Conversations in public spaces present endless possibilities to build connections, create community, and just make someone’s day a bit more interesting.”

Thank you for your interesting and engaging work!

9 03 2011

Thanks Jesse, I think you might really love the work of Candy Chang. She also uses art and design for community building, social interaction and changing public spaces.

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