Saturday, January 21, 2012

On the Deck in New London

Between I 95 and the water in eastern Connecticut is an old Whaling town named New London. Go to the post office there and look up into the ceiling of the main room. There is a WPA mural of a whaling ship from the perspective of someone working on the deck. This feeling of being in the scene brings it to life. You can almost smell the salt air and feel the movement of the ship. Including the viewer is a great tool for engaging them. 

Now look around you. Most New Londoners I've known have told me that they had no idea there was a mural there. Going to the post office is something you do on auto-pilot. This is their real life but they are not present in it the way the artist makes you feel that you are present in the drama of the working life of a whaler. The people you see around you are going through the motions.

Find a letter sized envelope and fold it into an arrow. Write the words "Look up!" on it and place it on a flat surface against the wall.

What other ways are there to get people to look beyond the automated patterns of their lives?

Image: Detail of mural by Thomas LaFarger

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