Silja Rempel (she/her)
The topic of Self-Awareness has accompanied me for a long time and is specifically relevant within our western commercialised urban space. How do we perceive ourselves and others and the dynamics within a social setting? This year I chose to deal with this issue to find opportunities for us to re-activate and re-discover the cities public life.
Public Awareness Installations
“I am the crucible of the future. I am where humanity will either flourish or fade. I am being built and rebuilt every day. I am inevitable. But I am not yet determined. I wish to be inclusive, innovative, healthy, soulful, thriving. But my potential can only be reached through you.”
– Quote from the TED Prize Winning Project, The City 2.0
Within our current commercialised urban structures we depend on reminders that trigger our awareness towards our surroundings. We have lost a connection to our fellow citizens and the space that we inhabit. This range of installations is offering opportunities to re-experience our high streets in a more active and autonomous way.
Think of any common shopping street – in this case Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. From a flat street that is integrated into peoples minds and memory the spectrum in which we perceive it is quite narrow. Our gaze moves mainly within a ca 3 meter range, from the pavement to the shopping windows and offers/sales. To break this up and draw more attention to the actual wide voluminous sphere that it is, the interventions’s goal is to act in diverse angles, inhabiting the three dimensional space. Instead of flat surfaces there are building heights and the volume in-between to act with.
There are three desired impacts that the installations aim to fulfill:
– Change of Focus
To enhance the versatility of the environment and counteracting consumerism to return to the diverse multi-purpose of the space of a shopping street. This is to draw the attention towards the democratic space itself, essentially smaller buildings framing a wide street/path that offer immense opportunities within a community and can be used in a wider social manner
– Social Awareness
By creating encounters and triggering social appreciation, the habit of embarking on a visit to Sauchiehall Street primarily within our comfort zone of close people, friends, family is broken and questioned. While we move in bubbles we could meet new faces, get to know each other and stay curious, even for just a minute. When was the last time you experienced one of these aspects in public?
– Individual perspectives
To re-establish an appreciation of your own direct surroundings. Recognising that we share a space with others already triggers awareness, but from this outward-facing effect the inner individual perception of a constructed space and setting is necessary for us to behave autonomously.
/ Installation 1
The Harmonic Shift of Focus announces the series of installations that you encounter on your journey through the shopping area of Sauchiehall Street. When you’re starting to look out for special offers you are being re-directed upwards by a harmonic network of assembled musical pipes that get activated by wind. The subtle audible change in this part of the street make you aware of the three-dimensional space that you are moving in.
/ Installation 2
The Social Shelter is focussing on the societal aspect and provides a communal gathering point. Drawing the attention away from the adjacent shop windows this structure celebrates Glasgow’s challenging climate and gives space for a more interactive behaviour. As the roof has an opening that lets rain run off into a basin, the moment gains a sound experience and heightens your level of attention to your senses.
/ Installation 3
On your journey down the street, you mostly reside in two rushing streams on the paths right next to the shops. The alley in-between, populated by vegetation and seating options, is often neglected. The Mirror Illumination turns it into a place that you can light up during darker times of the day. The action of connecting objects that react to your initiative releases an acknowledgment of autonomy.
/ Installation 4
The Step Magnifier is a hidden discreet technological composition that highlights your movement and foot steps. Coming from a smaller lane, before you encounter the main range of the installations you get confronted with the sound of your own presence. By amplifying a recording of the passing motion it makes you aware of your everyday contribution to the urban scenery.
/ Installation 5
After addressing a shift of focus from the constructed commerce by subtly stimulating the senses, the Moment Capture touches upon our digital connection. This installation is playing with our perception of the ever-present recording of our behaviour. The act of photographing a scene is sensitive due to privacy regulations. Therefore the camera is equipped with a long shutter speed that makes the clarity of the image the user’s choice.
/ Installation 6
When we think of street furniture we see images of straight geometric platforms for us to sit on. Because we perceive our surroundings with our body and depend on the physical activation of it to get involved, this Activating Furniture provides a chance for a more appreciative encounter of individuals. Besides offering a calm resting point this structure lets the body merge with a flexible seating composition that adapts to its user’s balance and physicality.