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freedom of information

Located within Boston’s historic (brick) core, and using the history of Boston as example, this kinetic, site-specific, public art installation is a humorous commentary on our use and trust of the internet for learning.

The project makes tangible (physical), and spatial, the experience of unfiltered, virtual information found on the internet: the disconnected, true/false, incomplete and tangential “facts” we are exposed to on a daily basis, that lead to chaotic, fictive, composite memories: a lot of time; a lot of data; a lot of spelling errors; a lack of a conclusion; gossip. What do you remember from surfing the web? This is how we learn today.

The quotes on the bricks come from conducting a standard, typical search on the internet. The search started with the key phrase “history of Boston,” and evolved from there to information found in the initial discoveries (webpages), such as “Cambridge Agreement,” “puritan,” and so on, as they generically struck interest.

Whatever information was found was placed on the bricks. (Detailed image of all the text.) Sometimes this information was false, at other times it had absolutely nothing to do with the subject (the history of Boston), and sometimes it had a mere tangential relationship to it.

The only “choice” decision for what to select came from: a. not wanting to put too much on one particular subject, and b. an attempt to find something positive about puritans, as most of the comments were generally quite negative. This was really hard. A search for “positive puritan” or “good puritan,” for example, came up with a variety of funny results, such as coupons for Puritan’s Pride (whatever that is).

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MORE IMAGES
Fabrication
Photos by Others
Video - Children Playing in It
Video - “Adults” Playing in It
Video - Bricks Bending Gently Like Plants

DIMENSIONS
120 floating bricks
4’-7’ tall in a 30’ x 50’ area

MATERIALS
Balsa wood (a superlight wood - foam would have been cheaper, but irresponsible, as birds choke on it), paint, and steel rods

LOCATION
Downtown Boston, MA
Rose Kennedy Greenway at Rowes Wharf

COMMISSIONING AGENCY
FIGMENT Boston

WORK/CREDITS
Design & Fabrication:
Ioana Urma

Lasercutting text stencils:
Zach Hoevet

Site brick color check:
Josh Burgel

Site-Install:
Ioana Urma (mostly), Raluca Sisu, Dragos Diaconescu, FIGMENT Boston Volunteers

DATE
2012