The Unexpected in Public Space


a project by Jessica Martin, Roopesh Sitharan and Alex Burke. 2005

What have you encountered that was out of the ordinary?

More than one three-legged dog in Dolores Park

Not encountering a single human being on half-hour walk in the city at 10:30 PM

 A woman walking with her donkey in the Union Square.**

Poetic events happen in our lives everyday, and offer potential inspiration for creative projects. With that in mind, The Unexpected in Public Space is documenting and archiving encounters with out of the ordinary events that intervene in one’s daily routine in San Francisco.   The public domain of San Francisco is a fruitful site for art projects. The city is small in scale, is rich in neighborhood diversity, and has a history of hosting public art interventions–making it a welcome place for the new energy and creative inspiration this project provides.

The Unexpected will facilitate the production of public-sited art projects inspired by the descriptions of out of the ordinary events people have shared for the archive.  In these works, the white walls of the gallery or museum give way to the hyper-sensory, unpredictable public domain.  These public projects will forever be a works in progress–for the surrounding socio-cultural and environmental contexts are in constant flux.  The result will be a dynamic and evolving exchange between the artwork and the people, places, and cultures that inhabit the city.  These projects will uncover the buried, nuanced layers of the public domain in San Francisco–ultimately showing how art can unveil what we take for granted, opening up new ways of inhabiting the places around us.

** selected contributions to The Unexpected archive, collected via e-mail and personal interviews

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