Public Art Proposal, 2017
ideation / illustration / 3D rendering
Part of final project for Art, Design and the Public Domain Proseminar at Harvard GSD
Traveler's Booth invites the public to reflect on their personal experience of migration. As Harvard as the site of intervention, the piece discusses the imminent topic of migration in Harvard and the United States. Today, more than forty Harvard students and nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants in the US are affected from the DACA rescindment.
As proposed in Rosalyn Deutsche’s Art and the Public, the project treats public space as a realm of political debate and public art as work that helps to create such a space. In this space, people talk to each other, generate political discourses that may be critical of the state, and construct and modify political identities in encounters with others. A public emerges in the course of this dialogue and debate.
Since the majority of the Harvard Community are travelers, the goal is to widen the focus from the distant “them,” who are the people directly impacted by DACA, to include “us,” and the people immediately around us, to personalize the issue and promote thought and discussion.
Taking Harvard Yard as the site, the piece address issues that are relevant to the community, but also explore the possibility of creating a contrast between the rooted and static trees in the yard, and the people passing through. The yard becomes a space representative of our mobility and movement.
The suitcase is the motif for the project, because it is integral to the process of migration. Everyone packs a suitcase to travel. In these suitcases, we pack the bare necessities that we need to live in another place. But we also often bring items that can easily be purchased at the destination, because of their emotional value. In that way, the suitcases can be seen as our personal, cultural memories, or baggage, that slow us down. Something that we often cherish, but at times just want to throw away, but end up just keeping.
The Traveler's Booth focuses on probing the value of items that one has brought with them. This booth resembles a suitcase in appearance, but is enlarged so that visitors can enter, and sit inside it. Its interior is comprised of a sitting bench that can seat maximum two persons, and a reflection wall that holds an item that evokes the items one has brought here in their suitcases.
The evocative items on the wall can be a simple white plate, a plain fabric, a blank book, or a picture frame with blurred figures. These items are the basis of everyday life and culture: food, clothing, intellect, and memories. The booth itself is the container and a home.