Me Standing by You

Runners-up and popular vote grant awarded by the Seattle Design Foundation.

Me against you.

More than ever it seems like we live in a world of dualities that are constantly pitted against each other. The left, the right. The young, the old. The rich, the poor. The black, the white. We ask ourselves: ‘How do we reach the other side?’ without realizing that “the other side” is actually present in spaces we pass by everyday.

At a bus stop.
Waiting at the link station.
At a crosswalk watching for the walk sign.
Queuing in line for coffee.
Walking past a Real Change vendor on the street.

Me Standing by You will highlight these natural points of intersection in public spaces where people already are. Taking advantage of Seattle’s rainy season (which is much of the year), we plan to use large, free-standing umbrellas to intentionally create the space for new encounters and conversations. The umbrellas will stand in pairs displaying phrases that contradict, but not necessarily oppose each other. These words are meant to challenge the passersby to pause, encounter, and interact with an otherwise overlooked moment. What does it mean to live in contradiction, but not in opposition with one another? How can we stand by our neighbors on a day-to-day basis?

Real conversations happen in real spaces. Despite differences in personal preferences, orientations, status, and beliefs, it is more imperative we inhabit the same space, both physically and conversationally.

Me standing by you.
Currently in progress.

Connie Zheng