This evening, artist Ricardo Levins Morales celebrates the completion of his CuriousCity TC campaign with an event that includes art, discussion, and a performance by poet Tish Jones. For the project, Morales and his collaborators created posters, installed on MetroTransit buses, that posed questions with the hope of bringing out people’s curiosity in each other.
Levins Morales received a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant for the project, which he used to purchase ad space on buses. Posters asked questions such as, “Have you ever made friends with a stranger?,” “What did you wonder about the moon… when you were small?,” and “When was the first time you remember feeling powerful?” Each piece had accompanying images.
Tonight's event at Intermedia Arts will include food from Afro Deli, and what Levins Morales describes as surprise “bus-related gimmicks.” “There will be some low-stress group and community exercises,” he says. People will be asking each other questions, and sharing some of the most interesting stories that came out of the project. In addition, Jones will share an original piece she wrote based on the project.
You will also have a chance to check out all the posters and socialize. “There will be a relaxing flow between the different activities,” Levins Morales says. “It will be structured but informal.”
Though it’s difficult to measure how and in what way people were engaged by the posters, Levins Morales feels that the project was a success.
“I would have hoped for more people interacting with the online structure,” he says, “but that’s because that’s the easiest way to track; it’s not necessarily the natural direction for people to go in.”
There was some online activity, he says, with people posting questions online, either on Twitter or to the CuriousCityTC Facebook page. He also heard reports of people engaging in conversation on the buses themselves. If he were to do the project again, he says he would think about encouraging interactivity in real time, by perhaps sending students out through the bus system to watch people’s reactions or to even stimulate activity.
For now, Levins Morales says he’s pleased that the idea, which had been a seed in the back of his mind for years, was able to come to fruition.
“The fact that the whole project happened quite tickles me,” he says.
IF YOU GO:
6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 2
Suggested donation: Cost of bus fare (no one turned away for lack of funds).