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Creating conversation in Cleveland

Installation by UB architecture faculty members seeks to build connections within community

Photo by Bob Perkoski

by Brenna Zanghi

Release Date December 1, 2017

A temporary art installation by UB architecture professors Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster has put public debate back into the town square.

Installed last summer on the grounds of the Cleveland Main Public Library, “Dialogue” is a 50-foot circle of interlaced sound tubes connecting megaphones that invite community members to speak up and to speak to one another. Recalling the tin can phone, the network of brightly colored tubes sparks simple, small dialogues and creates a space for spontaneous interaction.

Describing “Dialogue” as “social infrastructure,” Jamrozik, an assistant professor of architecture at UB, says the installation opens opportunity for lively and even playful public debate.

“While we may occupy a common space, our experiences often remain solitary in the contemporary public realm. Between the current political climate and the echo-chambers of our worldviews created by social media, the need for shared physical experiences is paramount,” she says.

“Dialogue” was created for the eighth annual installment of the See Also program in the downtown Library’s Eastman Reading Garden, a collaborative effort between Cleveland Public Library and LAND studio to bring temporary installations to the garden. The work will be relocated to a more permanent location at one of the Cleveland Public Library branches in the spring of 2018.

Photo by Coryn Kempster

“Dialogue” is one of the most recent works by Jamrozik and Kempster, artists and designers whose research lies at the intersection of public space, architecture and play. Additional works by the pair include “Full Circle,” a circular swing set installed in Buffalo that brings community members face-to-face through play; and “Vertical Line Garden,” a colorful and inviting canopy of barricade tape that plays on the traditional formal garden and creates an engulfing kinetic space. An iteration of the latter project has been presented over the past four summers as part of the annual International Garden Festival in Quebec, Canada. See more at www.ck-jj.com

Photo by Bob Perkoski