After a week of observations, it was time to design an intervention in this beautiful park. It was a challenge brainstorming, as the three of us come from different educational and cultural backgrounds. However, we decided to use these differences to our “global” advantage.
“Where Are You From?”
Our concept is to collect data of where the patrons of Bryant Park live. To achieve that, we created a large outline of a world map for strangers to interact with. We also displayed instructions to place a pin at the location of their hometown and tie a string from that pin to Bryant Park in New York City.
“Mapping on the Williamsburg Bridge”, Fabiola Einhorn, Chris Henrick and Yun Zhou,
An instruction set involving a map detecting where one came from and where they are going, using the Williamsburg bridge as their focal point.
Our world map outline with thumbtacks and a colorful variety of thread. We designated a different color for each continent. We also displayed our map on an easel for better visibility for our strangers. Also, we made a string connection as an example for affordance of this project.
We set up on Sunday, September 27 from 5pm to 7pm in a corner on the south side of the park where we were expecting a lot of foot traffic. We had a variety of ages from toddlers to senior citizens who were eager to interact with our map. As individuals and small groups grabbed pins, we had many observers who stood just to watch. We also had tourists, who were fascinated enough to take photographs of our work and some selfies were taken. Out of the range of age groups, our older audience (ages 65 and up) were the most nostalgic and shared their immigration stories. An observation that we initially predicted was that some would be excited to see what other countries were pinned, which was a popular reaction. We even had two strangers engage in conversation when they found out that they were from the same state. However, we were shocked to see that some participants were discouraged when they noticed there was already a pin in their city or country.
We noticed that visitors from the New York City and surrounding suburban areas were disappointed that they could not participate, because we were using a zoomed out world map. A zoomed in map of the tri-state area would have been beneficial to our interaction.Also, we had some trouble connecting the thread as it became chaotic when more pins were added.Our location had a lot of foot traffic as predicted, however, we felt cramped in a tight corner, as we were surrounded by a cluster of empty chairs.