Finnish designer Candy Chang’s installation in Brooklyn explores the price of housing, owner/renter mobility, and location. Over the course of one week and several rainstorms, Candy collected data on participants’ homes: their size, location, cost, and duration of occupancy. She publicly displayed these before aggregating the data into infographics reflecting the city’s housing strata.
Her work yields potential avenues for our thinking about Life Lab to walk. Where she sought to uncover a community narrative, she found a suitable format for engagement. The Post-its contain much information, are accessible to anyone who has played Madlibs or done grammar homework, and are easily disseminated and logged.
Wanting to dig more deeply into the ramifications of housing costs, DS4SI’s job is to visualize the same data in real time, while maintaining a participatory format. There are questions of exchange that we’d need to explore – how to solicit and instantly display the information (exchange between source and result) or how to productively interact with participants (an exchange of labor).
An obvious difference between Life Lab and I’ve Lived is the latter’s emphasis on history. Chang looks at the occupants’ time spent in the neighborhood and the data yields lessons about mobility, suggesting that lifetime residents are considerably advantaged over renters. Life Lab frames issues in a sense of urgency. It says real people have x, y, and z going on in (y)our neighborhood, and publicly creating ideas together will help us intervene.
A successful deployment of Life Lab could bridge this difference if we give some thought to foregrounding the context in which we place the installation.
I’ve Lived was part of the Windows Brooklyn exhibit that paired artists with storefront windows in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens June 14-22, 2008.
So DS4SI has been thinking about a LifeLab to bring divergent fields together to consider design solutions to a familiar problem: how can we rearrange our lives so we can afford them, so they don’t destroy the earth, and so they aren’t completely dependent on the very systems that dispossess our local communities. Here are some European folks thinking along similar lines with us from across the pond and some interested examples to learn from and share. Check out “RESHAPING URBAN LIVES – DESIGN AS SOCIAL INTERVENTION TOWARDS COMMUNITY NETWORKS”
From CityLife/VidaUrbana, Boston:
Foreclosed families gathered on September 2nd, at 5:30 pm in front of
Deutsche Bank’s annual lavish dinner for the PGA’s top golfers at the
4 Seasons Hotel in Downtown Boston to protest the bank’s continued
foreclosures and evictions of Massachusetts and Rhode Island
residents, and demand an end to unfair foreclosures and
Coalition Opposes Deutsche’s Sporting Life…Demand an End to “Fore!”closures
Deutsche Bank was responsible for 14% of all foreclosures in the past
12 months in Massachusetts and 20% of all post-foreclosures evictions
in Rhode Island in 2008. Deutsche Bank has refused to let families
in foreclosed buildings stay in their homes. One such family is the
Gonzalez family, tenants of 77 Waldo Street, Providence, RI, whom
Deutsche Bank is planning to evict sometime after September 1st.
A coalition of community groups took their demands directly to
Deutsche on September 2nd. Because, despite the economic downturn
which Deutsche helped to create through their role in mortgage
securitization and the personal economic devastation Deutsche has
created and continues to create for many Bay state and Ocean state
residents, Deutsche Bank continues its sponsorship of lavish events
such as the Deutsche Bank Invitational Golf Championship, taking place
this upcoming weekend in Norton, MA, and the annual pre-tournament
dinner at the 4 Seasons Hotel across from the Public Garden in
Downtown Boston. Dinner invitees, including tournament sponsors, PGA golfers, and local elected officials have been invited to take part in the rally to show their support for local families.