Monday, August 15, 2011

"In Urbana, I ...": Day 1

On Friday night, I drove down from Chicago to Urbana, IL, with Patty, in order to get to the farmer's market early on Saturday morning. After talking to the public arts co-ordinator and the city officials who run the Market on the Square, we were allocated a a spot near the north-west entrance to this vibrant market. Here are a few shots of the market in progress:

We looked the part with black clothing and lanyards that I had made for us. I also had the idea on the way down of bringing a whiteboard, to which I stuck the words "IN URBANA, I..." in blue letters. This introduced an element of play, as people could write their ending to the project's phrase on the board, hold the board up in front of them while I took a photo, and the next person to take part could wipe the board clean and start again.

"Our fish special tonight is ..."
Although we weren't permitted to solicit volunteers, dozens of people came up to us voluntarily to write their phrase and pose for their photo. One chap in particular liked the idea of the project so much that he rounded up several of his friends to sign up. Here is one photo of a family who did a collective phrase:


There are more on the project Facebook page.

My aim for the project was to get at least 100 participants, in order to fulfill the idea of creating a community portrait through the pictures and responses. In four hours, I got up to 30% of that total. Everyone was very pleasant, the sun was shining (I got bad sunburn, because of course the one thing I forgot to bring was an awning). And Urbana is really a very nice place to visit. I can't wait to go back.

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