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$3,055 raised of $3,000 goal
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Funded on August 10, 2018
    • 102% contributed

For the past 3 years, I’ve been developing Thread.City, a series of collaborative site-specific installations consisting of text-based conversational threads that directly reflect the times in which we live. I was initially inspired by the comment feeds that follow online articles, in which the thoughts of everyday people are typically unfiltered, direct, and sometimes of seemingly greater value than the actual articles that are edited and massaged for the masses. Creating an ephemeral, interactive sculpture from this content becomes, for me, an imaginative play on a utopian system of conversation—free from invasion of privacy—and an archive of instances, places, and time that is deeply relevant to our current day. During the rest of this year, I have several opportunities to stage versions of Thread.City in various settings which will help me gain more visibility and public engagement with the project, as well as produce professional documentation that will amplify future iterations of Thread.City elsewhere. Funds from this campaign will support installation costs, documentation, and production. 

About This Project

In 2016-17, I installed the first version of Thread.City for roughly ten months near 55th and Prairie while in residence at the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life. Operating 24/7, the installation was completely open but was pretty quiet because few knew about it or engaged with it while passing by. That version operated more as a prototype, informing me of some of the design components that would be maximized through greater visibility and interaction. 

Focusing on the unedited, interactive, and “live” comment threads of conversations that are relevant to our times emphasizes the voices of everyday people. With new versions of Thread.City, I’m inviting the public to bypass the notion of edited media and creating a real-time system where users can interact with other people without the system using them. With today’s conversations about privacy, fake news, and hashtag movements, Thread.City offers a conceptual framework that further explores the complicated negotiations between user and owner that are before us all. 

Unlike common social media platforms, Thread.City has no login. The voice of the user is out front for immediate response. The exchange in dialogue is one that is open and free from moderation and alternative agendas, offering the ability to join conversations with little investment other than your voice. In addition to a particular freedom from commercial ownership, it also provides a stripped-down thread of conversation that is anonymous, providing the benefits of truly voicing what the heart may yearn to share without the consequences of direct affiliation. Of course, there are necessary parameters to moderate submissions for the sake of preventing offense and maintaining relevance. However, much of the submitted content will exist online, with the greater percentage visible within the space to be read, live and in the moment. 

For a single day, I'll present Thread.City for greater immediate engagement with a large body of people, collecting a full thread of activities and comments in response to current topics introduced, lead, and participated in by the public. There will be additional single-day installation collaborations that will be a bit smaller in scale, with greater attention to the sculptural aspect for documentation purposes. Paired with writings and response-posts by poets and selected groups whose voices are often less heard, these installations will be produced using projected text and historical narratives about location, with the intersection of time as the medium. 

Thread.City is attempting to reveal the magic within the mundane. Therefore, documentation is key so that the experience of being onsite, within the moment and within a time-relevant discussion, preserves the ephemeral nature in a unique way. My hope is to document each installation with video and still recordings for archiving and publishing. With this project, I’m expanding my practice with new technologies and projection-based installations and relying on collaborators to help me realize the full scale of the documentation possibilities.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Personal thank you on social media ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above, plus a personal invitation to 2018 "Thread.City" installation events ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    All of the above, plus a short collection of poems, entries from the thread, and still photos from the installation ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    All of the above, plus a signed pamphlet with essay ($100.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    All of the above, plus a live demo and tour of the installation, and a trio of signed prints of installation images ($100.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    All of the above, plus your name recognized as a Major Supporter as a part of the projected installation ($350.00 is tax deductible.)

Stephen Flemister

Make a Wave Artist

Stephen Flemister is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, print media, and new media, with practices invested in the intersections of portraiture and influences of digital culture. Through objects, installations, and experimental studies, Stephen explores methods of visibility and fabricated …

View Stephen Flemister's profile
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