The Installation Details
I was asked to create a piece that would catch the locals eye while they were out on their daily commute, visually inviting them to come and interact with the piece. In my suitcase, I brought polaroid cameras, film and string from the United States. I was a bit worried that the film would get damaged somehow during all the scans security does, but no harm was done, thank goodness! All other items were purchased in Paris at a local store that to me, was a cross between a Lowes and Ikea. The shop was HUGE! One thing that was not accounted for was the conversion of feet to meters - so when I went to the store and tried to get my lumber, I had to make a quick conversion - and got it wrong! I ended up with far TOO MUCH wood, but made it work for me and the project in the end.
Each post was 6 ft tall. A question was posted at the top of each beam and four possible answers were nailed below. Individuals who wanted to participate were first asked to write a description of themselves using one word on a notepad, then pose for a digital and Polaroid photo. While the Polaroid was developing, the individual would take a piece of string and answer each of the questions by looping their string around the nail with the answer they best identified with, slowly helping to build the visual graph of all the answers collected that day. At the end of the sting, we would attach the individual's image to identify their string of answers to the person.
After three days of the public installation, we found that there was a genuine diversity in both the people answering the questions and in the answers of the questions. There was not a specific demographic of person that participated, and no answer proved to be more popular than the rest, but simply all the answers were teaming with strings.
The one constant in everything?
Real, people of Paris were participating joyfully - every walk of life! It was a delight to create and participate in this public installation.