For our project UTOPS (Utopian Transformation of Public Spaces), we took on the persona of an urban planning firm performing a charrette at Dolores Park about a possible utopian redevelopment of San Francisco's Financial District. During this community brainstorming session, we invited participants to answer questionnaires, contribute to a communal clay model, and/or draw on a communal plan of the area, telling us what they want and need from the Financial District.
For our photo shoot, we attempt to recreate the sorts of stock images normally created as part of redevelopment plans, with a touch of absurdity and utopian vision. All photo shoot images by Ethan Rafal.
Our performance of the UTOPS project as part of Southern Exposure's Alternative Exposure San Francisco Open Houses started out innocently enough, but soon ironically demonstrated the privatization of public space. We set up in the center of Dolores Park, and engaged with participants, including a large group of local schoolchildren. After 2 hours in the park, we were forced to move by park police, and moved the project to the sidewalk, where park police again forced us to move across the street. After moving to the sidewalk across the street, we were confronted by a homeowner who asked us to leave because he didn't want us to set a precedent for vendors to set up on the sidewalks in front of his home. Frustrated, we were forced to end the project.
Front side of our accompanying brochure, handed out to participants in the project.
Inside of our brochure, handed out to participants.