The City of Palo Alto put out a call for an artwork within the lobby of its City Hall to represent and encourage an open and transparent style of governance. CONVERSATION became that piece. It is a window into a working democracy, playing out in realtime. A site-specific new media artwork, CONVERSATION relies on public participation. Local, National and Global feeds provide the catalyst for an ongoing community discussion. A touchscreen display within the lobby is an invitation to post comments and images while at City Hall. Its website allows participation from anywhere. The exchange of thoughts and ideas given form creates a continually evolving artwork, always in flux as news and posts appear and change throughout the day. While a unique artistic experience, CONVERSATION raises fundamental questions about public participation, accountability and community. It imagines a democracy as something we make together, that can change moment by moment.
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Public Art Division