multiple iterations of a participatory action and reflection / lemonade, mobile cart, paper, marker, city streets and sidewalks
Providence, Rhode Island
As a lemonade cart traverses the City, strangers are invited to a cold lemonade in exchange for their sharing something unexpected they have learned in Providence. This is a question that is usually posed in the classroom and serves as an evaluating tool for the teacher and student. By taking this question out of the classroom, the city becomes a network of shared spaces for learning. Random encounters in city streets become spaces for reflective conversation. Posing this question bilingually, in Spanish and English, people from neighborhoods that might not otherwise interact overlap in their responses and interactions, creating relationship through dialog.
While Providence’s many institutions of learning provide high quality education, there is also great knowledge in the minds and memories of the people. This project recognizes the city as a spatial experience and as a shared territory that may prompt reflection. Like others of my projects, here I ask a specific question to a specific city. These questions are derived from social and spatial research and an intuitive response to the issues of each city. In Providence, this question investigates the idea that elite institutions are not the only transmitters of knowledge and that learning can also be based in informal structures of exchange. A city’s streets, sidewalks and building stock (especially in a city as old as Providence) are witness over generations to the process of people living their lives and each learning how to inhabit their own sense of purpose and belonging.