Is This The Right Stop?
The setup for Is This The Right Stop? is simple:
A bus stop, bench and newspaper rack.
A person sitting on the bench.
The bus stop has a charging unit for mobile devices that can only be used when it is closed so visitors using this service cannot use their mobiles as they charge. They are invited to wait on the bench, at that point the person sitting on the bench will introduce themselves and offer to teach visitors a skill of some sort. The newspapers in the rack contain information about this project.
Why is there a bus stop in the gallery?
The simple answer is that what goes on in this bus stop can, and probably should, happen anywhere. I put it in the gallery to reinforce the idea that social interactions can be initiated anywhere, and that they can be extremely valuable (like other things you would expect to see in a gallery).
The more comprehensive version of the answer, explained below, is connected to and influenced by my research methods – reading a lot of neuroscientific and social science studies, then creating design interventions, like this bus stop, that apply their conclusions.
The specific observations I am putting into practice with ’Is this the right stop?’ are that physically interacting in close contact with other people improves everyone’s well-being, it makes us happy and likely to live longer.
Encouraging participants to put their phone away to charge before sitting down is inspired by the observation that, while they make us feel connected, electronic means of communications do not provide us with the same physiological benefits.
The interactions staged in this space are framed as lessons because of another study I came across that links challenging ourselves with difficult and novel tasks, including social interaction with the development of cognitive reserves that are protective of our brains’ health as we age. In other words, trying new things like these makes us more resilient to neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
The choice to construct a bus stop inside the gallery is similarly inspired by the way some German nursing homes are using bus stops to prevent Alzheimer's patients from wandering off because they know the bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home.
Generally speaking, people who are waiting at bus stop are all the same in that they are trying to get somewhere. It Is one of the most normal places for strangers to talk to each other, asking questions that normally start with 'is this the right stop?'. Finally, if you are in a bus stop it means that you have considered where you would like to end up–speaking in the context of technology versus face-to-face interaction that is something I am in the process of doing and hope to inform others into doing as well.
The pedagogical aspect of this work is also a nod towards the academic environment of the Royal College of Art, which is self-critical and which encourages interrogation of the different uses and purposes of teaching.
Even though I am setting the scene so that visitors are encouraged to learn something new, the fundamental intention is to encourage physical, close-contact interactions. That is why I am instructing the teachers to go with the flow should they find that the person speaking to them is too skilled to be taught or that the conversation is veering off in an unexpected direction for any other reason.
School of Communication
MA Visual Communication, 2016
+44 (0)7790 150201
I have a strong interest in looking at a group setting and developing ways to improve the wellbeing, creative output or general happiness of the participants. Usually that is achieved by identifying potentials which these groups already have and may be unaware of. My research is very much influenced by observations in the field of Neurosocial Science. One example for this is by helping to assure others in college that the 'impostor experience' is not unusual and that discussing it helps alleviate it. When collaborating, I view the quality of the social bond between myself and the other participants as critical. As with other forms of engagement, connecting well with other people increases the chances that they would enjoy collaborating in the future.
Increasingly there is a performative element in my work which I use in order to expose larger crowds to concepts which I wish to investigate before delving into that social setting and engaging in more one to one personal interactions. I like to encourage everyone to physically interact and communicate in close contact with each other.
- BA Graphic Design, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, 2014
- Graphic designer, 8DIX ltd, London, 2013–present; Graphic designer, UJS, London, 2013–2014