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Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI)
1946 Washington Street, 2nd floor
Roxbury, MA 02118

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PROPOSAL: Green Dot, On Snow

Monday, October 29, 2012 | Posted by Alex
Eli Kintisch

Describe your project.
Our project is an art installation. It is a pulsing circle of green light placed in the path of people passing by on a snowy night. We hope to subtly influence their states of mind, to create an unexpected growth potential within a random moment of their lives. The goal is also to psychologically connect the participant's experience to the alarming patterns of ice growth in the Arctic.

The green projection will be displayed on the white ground after or during a snowfall this winter, from the skyscraper-like Green Building at MIT. Last winter we conducted a full scale test of the projection.

Phase one • the dot: A pulsing circle of green light, accompanied by a sound loop, as described above.
Using rhythm, light and sound the green dot creates a pulse rhythm slightly slower than the normal human breath rate, as it is much larger than any individual, has the effect of encouraging visitors to breath at its rhythm.
The sound component of the installation is something like a heartbeat, but slower, providing a mediation on positive intention.

Phase two • introduction of polar ice imagery: We will visually combine the rhythm of the polar ice with the rhythm of the green dot. We will re-frame polar ice movement in the context of breath and heartbeat.

Arctic sea ice has a rhythm, seasonally growing in winter, shrinking in summer. Normally, polar ice is quite removed from our perception, both in time and distance. The sea ice that comes and goes in the Arctic is too far away for more than a handful of people to ever experience. Even those lucky enough to experience the pole cannot experience the rhythm of the ice, coming and going through the seasons due to the slowness of its cycle. We will present the seasonality of the ice for general consumption on the MIT campus and the broader public.

We are putting the ice rhythm into the context of the rhythms of the human scale, the pulses that govern our lives. We all know that the issue confronting our generation is not lack of information, it's lack of ability to process that information that we receive. Our goal is to encourage learning and find ways that bring global cycles into a frame of reference that humans can understand.

The green dot seeks to bring the essential life rhythms of the planet into a scale that makes sense to human beings. We seek to create a connection between humans and the rhythms of our global context.

Since 2004 the green dot has been installed 24 times, including in 2007 in City Park, New Orleans and at Burning Man, in 2008 at Santa Cruz Museum of art & history and at the ATA Gallery, San Francisco, in 2009 at Sculpturefest in Woodstock, VT and in 2011 at AVA Gallery, Lebanon, NH.

How will you use the grant to make your idea happen?
We have full support of relevant MIT authorities who work in the building and the campus police/facilities. We will rent and buy projectors & projector stands that will allow us to focus several small projectors onto one spot, creating a more intense, saturated image than we could with only one projector.

Last year, because of a mild winter, we failed to have any days of snow for our project. So our art piece to explore aspects of a warming world was itself thwarted by the warming world. Or our inability to do this art piece became the art piece itself. Our plan this year is to again aim to project our images onto snow. Our backup plan if we fail in the weather is to rent a truck and pickup snow from several nearby icerinks which have agreed to the project.

We will be using a low, looped heartbeat like soundtrack with the animated image, and we have the needed sound equipment.

Why and to whom is your project important?
We seek to create a place of solace in the snow, a moment of contemplation, and warm and welcoming means of thinking about nature and ice on a cold night. What happens in the Arctic is so far from our daily experience, but this art piece relates the concept of breath, which we all know, to the natural cycle of ice growth and melting in the Arctic. Now that this cycle is being changed by human activity, making this moment of time all the more important.


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