I Just Wanted to Say

In the spirit of Andie and Halcyon’s recent posts on sharing the concept of cultivation of “playa-spirit” year-round, I wanted to share the project, “I Just Wanted To Say,” a simple and engaging project that explores creating friendlier cities through the reprogramming of public transport and public seating space.

"I Just Wanted to Say" Artist Yen Trinh

This project was developed by self proclaimed, urbanist and designer, Yen Trinh, of Brisbane, Australia, with graphic design support from Steven Rhodes, also from Brisbane. It was developed in conjunction with PLATFORM, a project devised by the Public Art Unit, Project Services. It was curated by the Museum of Brisbane and the Brisbane City Council and received financial support through art+place, the Queensland Government’s Public Art Fund.

Concept mock-up of Yen Trinh's work, with graphic design support from Steven Rhodes

Design is too often seen as a superfluous and elitist preoccupation. In this project, however, Yen moves beyond the realm of logos, posters and objects and uses design as opportunity and agent for change. This project re-imagines design concepts typically found in public transport signs as an opportunity for interaction and conversation. Namely, it takes the idea of “priority seating” and adds a unique twist.

Easily accessible seats on public transport are universal. They have traditionally been designated for elderly and disabled based on both a culture of courtesy and handicap access legislation. This project uses similar visual design to create “priority seating for people who want conversation,” helping to cultivate “a culture of friendliness.”

Excerpt from the Signage:
Conversations in public spaces present endless possibilities to build connections, create community, and just make someone’s day a bit more interesting.

What makes this project interesting — and relevant to the cultivation of Black Rock City spirit — is its call for participation: anyone can download the design and make their own priority seating for conversation.

The work is currently on view in Brisbane at the RBH Busway Station until March 2011. An adapted version was seen at the Williamburg Walks in New York last June. Where else will it be on display? Well, that is most certainly up to you.  Do you know a place that could be transformed into priority seating for conversion? I just bet you do. As the project designers say: Friendliness is contagious. Pass it on.

Download priority seating signs here.

About the author: Jess Hobbs

People have often described Jessica Hobbs as someone trying to lead a compulsively artistic life, which is more or less true. She started off her adventure in a small Sierra Foothill town and eventually meandered her way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Along the way Jess has worn many hats; running and creating community art programs, counseling teenagers, curating, exhibiting, designing, photographing and playing with some girls who love lipstick and accelerants. She is an MFA graduate from the San Francisco Art Institute and has been wandering and creating in the dust fest for well over a decade. She believes collaboration is key in community and art. This idea formally began with her collaborative performance work at UCSC and has continued to be a core element in her artistic practice. This core value can been seen in her collaborative project with Felecia Carlisle, Wedding Portraits created for SFAC's Art On Market Street Program, in her work directing the Crucible Steel Gallery at CELLspace, in her creations as a Flaming Lotus Girl and in her work wrangling the Shipyard Labs.

3 thoughts on “I Just Wanted to Say

  • I absolutely love this! A friend, that I have yet to meet but follows along on passion of Turning Strangers into Friends, sent me the link to your blog. Maybe we can take it one step further and see what stories and relationships form as a result of YOUR inspiration! I am building my site and followers and want to collect stories from people around the world– how Turning a Stranger to Friend changed their life, the lessons learned, the experiences gained, the knowledge soaked up from someone they just met. Also, I heart Australia. I even have a tattoo on my ankle I got in Adelaide 5 years ago. Keep on Smiling :)

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  • just a note. i had a supervisor in kansas . and one day she said, well tigh imana. i said imana? then she said, i’m a gonna. then of course i said, i’m agonna? then she said well i’m going to…… and why are you making fun of the way i am talking? the reason i am writing this is that you will here this phrase, it seems to happen often. it comes from the south and the mid west. i don’t think it happens anywhere else. i thought it was an interesting use of the language.

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