forced perspectives

forced perspectives

Proposal/Official document

2 series of arrows, painted the same colour, in a straight line, spaced at random, on an urban sidewalk; each serie in an opposite direction. The series would be one or two blocks long. The would be small signs (15cm x 20cm) placed on the lamposts, alongside these arrows, instructing the pedestrian to have a pre-determined idea about another, oncoming, pedestrian. One direction would instruct how to perceive the oncoming pedestrian. The opposite direction would instruct how one is viewed by the oncoming pedestrian. These instructions would be based on situations that are completely non-verifiable by visual cue. "THE PERSON COMING TOWARDS YOU DID NOT BRUSH THEIR TEETH THIS MORNING" &, conversely, "THE PERSON COMING TOWARDS YOU KNOWS THAT YOU DID NOT BRUSH YOUR TEETH THIS MORNING", or, "THE PERSON COMING TOWARDS YOU DOES NOT LIKE SANDWICHES" &, "THE PERSON COMING... KNOWS THAT YOU DON'T LIKE SANDWICHES". Another pair of series of arrows on another, possibly crossing, sidewalk, could have signs that taint on a more emotional, or personal level: "THE PERSON COMING... IS AFRAID OF YOU" &, conversely "THE PERSON... KNOWS THAT YOU ARE AFRAID OF THEM". Other views that may be imposed could be biased towards joy, love, anger, jealousy, hope, etc..
The goal of the installation would be to encourage individuals to reflect upon how they perceive others based on their own personal past experience. They would be encouraged to be aware of the speed with which a prejudice can be formed, based on very little information. Information that is not verifiable without a conscious effort. A potential action that may occur, would be where one individual would actually interact with their 'opposite', creating a relationship that would be based more on fact than fiction.
A plaque would be installed, either on a wall, or, on a free-standing base, that would give a synopsis of the motivation and purpose of the installation.


Any pedestrian who likes to analyze what they see, what they read, and what they think.
2 or 3 people to do the initial paint and installation. 2 people to wrap up at the end of the presentation.

Location: an urban sidewalk, not too crowded, perhaps 4m between pedestrians. spring/summer/autumn

Other Tools: rubber stamp, small frames, wall or free-standing plaque, permit from the authorities