“What do we have in common? »Art Installation seeks to provoke reflection
Friends of the Public Garden and NOW + THERE have teamed up to present a public artwork titled âWhat do we have in common? On Boston Common until October 26 in an effort to provoke discussion and reflection on the nature of the property.
âWhat do we have in common? Â»Created by the artist Janet Zweig, is an immersive, experiential work of art that engages people as they walk through Boston Common and see a large wooden box placed in the middle of the grass. The large wooden box looks like a cabinet with 200 drawers filled with question boxes and glass windows with ingenious books inside. The books contain the history of the land of Massachusetts. Each morning, around 10 miniature boxes are scattered around Boston Common so that random park visitors are faced with questions that challenge space, ownership, and ownership.
VMA Professor, Cher Knight, art historian and public art enthusiast, is a member of Now + There. She sees the questions as a way to provoke a dialogue about the vulnerability of the public space.
âIt’s a way of thinking about what we all owe each other as human beings, and a way of doing deep listening,â Knight said.
Slandie Prinston and Tra Ha are some of the guides posted to the artwork. Their jobs add a human touch to the artwork by showcasing Zweig and his art. Plus, they connect with the audience to find commonalities, just like the play intends to. The guides randomly choose questions from the boxes scattered around the Common to ask visitors.
âThe point of these questions is to get people to tap into their curiosity, practice a bit of soul-searching and question the world around them a bit more,â said Prinston.
The artwork is proving to be quite political because of the discussions it provokes, especially when it comes to the U.S.’s current relationship with other countries, Prinston said. As an immigrant from Haiti, Prinston said she resonated with the room because of the imperialism her country has faced.
“I participate in many conversations [regarding] social justice, like who owns my body, who owns my rights, [especially] as an immigrant, âPrinston said. âThe questions of rights, democracy, body, body autonomy, land ownership, are super relevant.
Questions allow people to really take a minute and analyze the space around them, as most don’t have simple, straightforward answers.
âI asked two girls a question: Who owns your body? Ha said. “They want to think they own their body, but at the same time they know they don’t, because there are so many different rules and laws about how a woman should be and do with her own. body.”
The questions asked around Le Commun and in the drawers of the exhibition make you step back and falter a little because of their complexity.
âEvery time you ask a person a simple question like who owns the air, who owns the park, they’ll all take a minute and really think about it,â Ha said.
Every day, parts of the artwork are removed and scattered, which for Prinston represents the phenomenon of life, death and the afterlife.
âI feel like it’s reproducing the cycle of life and destruction, or rebirth and the process of regeneration,â Prinston said. âIt’s an abstract version of what’s going on all around us here in terms of nature and the people who roam the commons. The play really embodies a lot of the reality that is going on around us and the movement.
Prinston and Ha are both writers and use public art as a means to fuel their creative writing process.
âIt’s a personal exploration for me, and I’m curious to see how my interactions and conversations here affect what I write,â said Prinston. “It was interesting to hear different perspectives and see where people are coming from, like why do they think the way they do and, again, from an activist point of view which is super interesting and relevant.”
The artwork was vandalized over the weekend – the glass was shattered, which is a sad reality for public art.
âWith public art comes the vulnerability of public space,â Knight said. âIt’s difficult when you work in the public sphere.
Public art is often ignored because people pass by without any gratitude towards it. As a creator, Knight values ââpublic art for what it is: a way to provoke thought. She took her Introduction to the Visual Arts sections to visit âWhat do we have in commonâ to do just that.
âSome may like it and some may not,â Knight said. “But it’s one way to have a conversation that we didn’t have before.”
It is important that these discussions about the nature of the property continue after October 26, when the coin is removed, she said.
“What happens after the part disappears?” Are we going to be more aware of the space around us? said Chevalier. “If we’re going to be more aware, will it be in a sincere way?” Because otherwise, it doesn’t matter.