‹Whereas–A Declaration of Place›
‹Whereas–A Declaration of Place› is a hyperlocal investigation of place and community. Gathering human-centered information in a 600 square-yard zone in San Francisco's Inner Mission that is undergoing rapid urban changes, the project resulted in an interactive installation at Southern Exposure Gallery, the locus of ‹Whereas› investigations. Mapping the complex neighborhood in visceral layers of interlinked text and imagery, ‹Whereas› creates a spatial narrative that gave an embodied sense of place.
‹Whereas› is framed by the day-to-day realities of the people in this hyperlocal zone and its evolving history. An intergenerational group of residents and businesses in the project zone contributed statements about their relationships to the neighborhood. The statements were compiled into composite Declarations that reflect the multiple truths in the diverse neighborhood. Borrowing from the format of legal proclamations, the Declarations gave weight to the collective sense of place expressed through the personal.
Photographs of each Declarer's cupped hands holding an artifact symbolic to them of the neighborhood convey specific personal narratives. Viewers could also access other visual materials such as residents' personal maps of the neighborhood, a photo series of neighborhood details, and a bound volume of research on the area's history at a cabinet. They could add their own neighborhood stories to an analog Story Book at the installation. An online version of the project can be found at whereas-project.org which includes an interactive Storybook blog.
‹Whereas› is a StoryLab11SM project, with Michelle Brennan, Joel Chaidez, Julie Conquest, Victoria Heilweil, Boramy Khloth, Chelsea Lee, and Claudia Wheeler-Rappe. StoryLab11SM is an experimental incubator developed by Yung for cross-disciplinary projects that explore innovative ways to engage story as a non-linear tool for mining and mapping deeper social and cultural content in place- and community making.