Front and Center (2013)

Cities are also networked-sites where personal narratives, sustained by cultural constructs like popular music, coexist daily but remain disconnected. However, our phones have lately become the main vehicle for the ongoing consumption and reenactment of today’s cultural commons, although only at a personal level. Is there anyone else listening to what I listen, seeing what I see or doing what I do? This project seeks to engage citizens from different cities via open platforms that allow them to connect remotely and use mobile devices as a virtual window to make visible the invisible.

Two identical stages placed on a square in two different cities will be equipped with basic musical instruments accessible to passers by. Using graphic signage, we’ll invite participants to interpret 5 to 10 popular songs, while video cameras record what happens in every stage. By accessing a website through mobile devices, passersby can see a video stream of the activity taking place in the other stage/city, along with the performance that is happening right in front of them. Then, audiences can experience familiar songs, interpreted by two strangers in two cultural and musical styles.

As a public art intervention, this project is a kind of homage to the people that make the city and their potential to produce experiences that engage others. On the one hand, the work is an open platform that invites direct participation from citizens and creates an opportunity for playfulness. On the other hand, it is a sculptural form (like a monument) that transforms the perception of our multicultural urban landscapes. Our approach to site-specificity relies more in the notion of connectivity and the understanding of site as a kind of point in-between two or more locations.