Posts in Australia

February 28th, 2011  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

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.

February 15th, 2010  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings

Megs Eats World 2.1: Adventures in Australia

Melbourne Mural

Boarding the 14-hour flight to Sydney, Australia, a flurry of butterflies filled my belly. Though I’d been daydreaming about this trip for some time, it only now felt real. Stepping off this plane in Australia would put me farther than ever before from my family, friends, and community in San Francisco. However, the knowledge that I’d be welcomed into a network of Burners in Australia and New Zealand made the start of my journey much less intimidating, the gap between our continents that much smaller.

Maid Marian and I had crafted a tight itinerary for our travels abroad and had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. Our first mission was to connect with the movers and shakers behind the upcoming OzBurn Seed 2010, Australia’s first Regional Burn that will take place in June, 2010. Over the past several months, I’d shared countless conversations and emails with Burning Man Australian Regional Contact Robin and local community organizers Phil Smart and King Richard about the work they were doing to nurture the growth of the Burning Man community in Australia. Though I knew that the work they were doing was significant, from my desk in San Francisco—and without a background in Australian culture—I had a limited frame of reference through which to understand their experiences. By visiting them in Australia and connecting with the local Burning Man community, I hoped to gain the perspective I needed to comprehend what their contributions meant to the international Burning Man Regional Network.

View from our plane over Sydney: Photo by Maid Marian
View from our plane over Sydney Photo by Maid Marian

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