Keywords: Design Intervention, Critical Design, Installation
This project explored the idea of witness. To witness someone is to be present for and open to someone, acknowledging their being and their words (if they speak). One can witness another in a religious context, in the context of hospice, etc.
Immediately following the November 2016 Presidential election, it became very clear to me that the people of this country were and are struggling to hear and understand each other's opinions and beliefs. People across the political spectrum felt unheard, disrespected, and even victimized during this election.
My collaborator Alix and I thus set out to encourage conversation and understanding between, or even just acknowlegement of, strangers. We built wooden seesaws and installed them guerrilla-style in Boston Common. The seesaw provides a platform for communication via a mutually-understood game of raising and lowering, of finding balance and establishing trust.
When left alone, our seesaw attracted the interest of a wide variety of passers-by: a pair of Mormon missionaries, a group of Haitian immigrants, a trans* woman, some college students, some children, and a shaman. We saw people engage with strangers that they might have otherwise ignored, and we ourselves made some new friends.