WALKS THROUGH CAMBRIDGE

'Walks through Cambridge' detail

2011

Site-specific public art installation.

Materials: yard signs and paper.

Personal Take


Interventions in physical space can be used to share a small group experience with a larger non-captive audience.

Acknowledgement

  • On display during ARTS FIRST '11 (April 28 - May 1, 2011).
  • Supported by an ARTS FIRST '11 grant from Harvard's Office for the Arts.

Implications for Future Work

Process

I took 2 groups of participants on 30-minute silent walks in one direction, away from the freshman dorms of Harvard Yard. Afterwards, I interviewed them about their experience on the walk, as well as their experience adjusting to life on campus. I then compiled key quotes and major themes to write their experiences into two paragraphs. I divided the text into sentences on yard signs so viewers would read one line at a time as they walked along a path within Harvard Yard.

Final Text

It was sunny and warm as we walked straight past the Northwest Labs, to places we’ve never seen—it was a little amazing. Walking eventually became automatic, like riding a train looking at the scenery. Past the cobblestone and buildings with character is a different world in an actual neighborhood. The whole time I felt like I was in one of those movies where the main character goes to an alternate universe: they can see/hear everything going on, but they can’t interact with it.


I liked Cambridge immediately: the college town experience, with Boston right there as an option as well. But it doesn’t feel much different from Ann Arbor, aside from a big city right there. It feels less real somehow. I guess because the Square is filled with shops and boutiques, not like a big grocery store or something. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t explored Cambridge or maybe I don’t use it as a real town. In some ways I feel like living somewhere is supposed to mean grocery shopping. But I mean I don’t know what that means if I’m not living here.