Industrial Designer
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Messages From the Park

This interactive piece was made with the intention to connect two sites and communities within Vancouver. With this in mind, it has become increasingly clear that as the gap widens between socio-economic groups, the homeless become further marginalized. Gentrification has forced homeless populations further East making Oppenheimer the perfect living room for the displaced patrons of Vancouver’s downtown Eastside. The park exemplifies this polarization; it is a site steeped in protest and activism. Labor organizers, homeless, and cultural groups have utilized the space to find a collective voice and cultivate a sense of community.

During our primary research we fell into the common trap of assuming what homeless people want, need and dislike, projecting our design objectives into a space that we did not have a clear understanding of. The result of our initial confusion left us wanting to create an opportunity for those in Oppenheimer park to communicate with the rest of Vancouver. Giving them agency to speak, subvert, and tell their own stories.

The Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library (V.P.L) on the other hand is a bustling hub of knowledge in downtown Vancouver. To connect the two spaces we had to consider the context and alter our piece to suit the unique needs of the user in each of the spaces. In Oppenheimer we chose a simple table with a messaging inviting the people within the park to share their stories with V.P.L. We pared down the final design of the table to make it approachable to those in the park. T e table is pressure sensitive, the user writes or draws whatever they wish (Oppenheimer); as this occurs pins contained in a wall at V.P.L protrude in correlation to the drawing on the table.

The pin wall at V.P.L behaves twofold: First as a visual speaker or sounding board it displays whatever is written allowing Oppenheimer patrons to speak their minds and communicate how ever they chose. Secondly it is a symbolic gesture of the park patrons physically pushing messages into a space of knowledge in a commercial section of the city. We chose a public art spectacle approach at V.P.L, because it suited the context of the site. The building is in and of itself a spectacle, we wanted our piece to challenge those within its walls to take note of what goes on in ignored spaces in our city. As the words and drawings from Oppenheimer fade away we hope viewers feel the human connection borne of story telling and sharing.

 
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Messages From the Park is an interactive sculpture that invites residents of one space to occupy another through story telling.

 
 
 
 

This interactive piece was made with the intention to connect two sites and communities within Vancouver. The gap between socio-economic groups has widened and the homeless further marginalized. The result of our initial confusion regarding the wants and needs of homeless unveiled their desire to speak, subvert, and tell their own stories.

To connect the two spaces, we had to consider the context and alter our piece to suit the unique needs of the user in each of the spaces. In Oppenheimer we chose a simple table with a messaging inviting people within the park to share their stories with Vancouver Public Library. We pared down the final design of the table to make it approachable to those in the park. The table is pressure sensitive and while the user writes or draws whatever they wish at Oppenheimer Park pins contained in a wall at V.P.L protrude into the space in correlation to the drawing on the table.