Art is a powerful expression that can break down barriers to research. I strive to create art that engages the general public to question traditionally held beliefs about space and the cities in which they live. I hope my work will increase accessibility to the important questions of social, environmental, and economic sustainability.
Here are some examples of recent work:
No Place to Play: Gender Influences on Adolescents’ Social Spaces
This experiential exhibit brings the culmination of five years of award-winning architectural field research by Dr. Lyndsey Deaton to Clemson students and the Upstate community. This exhibit comes during a time in which many students have not been able to travel abroad and experience the often conflicting narratives behind urban public space.
This study’s findings on free movement support the sentiment that there is “no place to play.” The girls’ average area of the free movement fell between 24%-36% of the boys’ and the average farthest path was between 38%-62% of the boys’. These findings suggest that girls have access to fewer places when compared with boys and describe how gender influences girls’ landscapes.
Over five years of living and working with girls and boys in these communities, Deaton revealed the critical role of reframing public spaces in adolescents’ landscapes as “third places.” “Third places,” coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg (1989), refers to places where people spend time between home (first place) and work (second place). From Deaton’s study, adolescents’ third spaces are the interstitial areas around religious buildings, residential and shop streets, ditches, and vacant lots. Third places are where adolescents spend their time exploring the bigger world around them and interacting with others. Their experiences in those places are vital in preparing them to become self-confident and independent adults. In “Children’s Right to Child-friendly Cities” scholars Chowler and Vliet (YR) have shown that free movement in public spaces is critical for adolescents to achieve personal development and active social participation.
Fears, gender-based rules, and cultural expectations, which are strong in the Global South, limit girls’ free movement more than boys’. Specifically in their teenage years, as girls transition biologically and socially from children to women, the female gender is largely perceived through the lens of family values and marriage expectations, which directly impacts their free movement. These perceptions reinforce the separation between girls’ and boys’ spaces.
Vivid Summer Parklet, Eugene, OR, USA
2017 Recipient of Mayor’s Choice Award
This project challenges the effective use of urban space currently allocated to vehicular parking but transforming a standard on-street parking stall (200 sf) into a miniature public park. The theme “vivid summer” is a motif for the power generated when unique individuals form community, as distinct wood panels construct strong geometric shapes. The piece features a painting by local artist, Jessilyn Brinkerhoff. The built-in seating supports a variety of activities as well as spaces for individuals, couples, and small groups. Wide ledges accommodate drinks and computers. A standing-height counter transitions pedestrians into the parklet.
As the sun sets, the Vivid Summer parklet begins to glow; daylight sensors trigger an internal network of embedded LEDs to bath the benches in soft tones. These lights cast a beautiful array of summer colors on the benches and increase the safety of the space by illuminating a potentially dark corner of the street. The lights are powered by a small, secure PV panel that can be attached directly to the parklet or a neighboring roof.
World Design Forum, Hyderabad, India
Depending on who we are and what we look like, we experience public space differently. Factors that frame our society such as gender and age shape our impressions as we navigate the city. This project draws upon ethnographic research in Hyderabad to bridge some of those experiences to people outside of the age and gender demographics so that we may shift our “eyes” and empathize better with others in our community. It uses character frames with colored filtered lenses placed equidistant from a perspective drawing of one public space. Each color filter reveals some public space qualities and hides others. As participants look through the different color filters they begin to “see” the same public space with a different perspective. For example, the color filter representing a young girl may show the edge of a park where men hang out as dangerous while the filter for a middle-aged man may show that same park edge as a thriving and engaging. This project emphasizes the experiential difference demographics have even when architecturally the frameworks are the same.