I loaded my preliminary materials into the back of EMP’s vast Baltimore Street space on Friday morning, and tomorrow will commence nearly a month of onsite prep for RFP’s opening on January 31st.
EMP’s big, bright space, at the heart of a busy crossroads downtown near both the Inner Harbor and Lexington Market, is ideal for a project that I hope will draw a wide cross section of Baltimore residents. One of my primary goals is to take great advantage of EMP’s window fronted street level entrance to welcome and beckon passersby within during RFP’s open hours. The seed of my original idea for RFP germinated over the course of several prior installations I completed in public sites (notably, a work I did in 2013 for Maryland Art Place at the Towson Town Center).
While working over the course of a week at Towson, I was gratified at the number of curious visitors (including several who came many times) who asked questions about the project and, frequently, offered up suggestions or anecdotes pertaining to the theme of the work that ultimately found there way into the final piece. These interactions were entirely spontaneous and suggested the great potential in willfully opening up the making of a large scale work to the public over the course of an extended period, and, in so doing inviting and encouraging conversation and collaboration – particularly of the off the cuff variety. All of my work addresses the complex structure of cities, and I began to see such an open-ended, permeable project as a potentially potent metaphor for not only the ongoing change cities undergo, but also for the agency of city residents from all walks in manifesting that change. In the communities I admire most, the entangledness of constituent voices with the city’s physical reality is broad, and the result is rich and cacophonous.