Street intervention: how to influence people’s thoughts through design and interactive installations


Strelka Institute, together with British design studio Ab Rogers Design, dedicates this workshop to experiments in public space that change people’s familiar surroundings, their behavior, mood, or their usual way of thinking. Among their examples the organizers cite the work of Sophie Calle, who rigged up a New York phone booth and offered passers-by drinks and cigarettes, but also the Hep five wheel in Osaka’s commercial district and experiment Volkswagen, whose initiators made piano keys out of the steps of a public staircase to get people to use the stairs instead of the escalator.

The workshop’s participants will come up with furniture, installations or performances that change the usual public space and that communicate with passers-by, forcing them to think outside the box and break out of the boundaries of everyday life. The workshop will take students and teachers to one of Moscow’s main streets or shopping centers for a day, where they will unfold their experiments and observe the public’s reaction and behavior to out-of-the-ordinary objects. The workshop aims to teach students to defy society’s «normal» and sometimes too familiar and formal behavior with design and performances, and to help a new type of cultural experience emerge on the streets of the city.

Ab Rogers Design: «We need to re-open the city’s central streets as a place for aesthetic and intellectual discoveries. Last year, the most popular museum in the world was the Louvre with 8.5 million visitors, while the Mall of America attracted 40 million. Shopping centers and main streets became the scene for important social events, a place where families and friends spend their free time. We need to change this scenario and think about how we can make the shopping process more interesting and informative. We need to distract the shopping crowd and make them see things around them in a wider way than they are used to. We need to bring a sense of education, philanthropy and altruism to public space, without any reason for that».