People Blind

A human-viewing station in a government building lobby.

Portland Building Installation Space, Portland, OR

People Blind was developed for the Portland Building Lobby Gallery and was installed there from February to April, 2015. It now resides at the Skyline Tavern’s “Field of Opportunity” in Portland, Oregon.

Portland Building project description:  Visitors are invited to observe and consider their fellow humans from multiple physical and intellectual perspectives, subjectively and objectively. The installation is designed to elicit questions and ideas about humans as a culture, as a species, as individuals, and also draws on the theory of “prospect and refuge,” a theory that people have instinctual preferences for places that have a clear view of the surroundings and that allow for concealment and escape.

The main element of the installation is the “people blind,” something like a bird blind that would be used as cover for wildlife observers. Behind the blind there is refuge and prospect—visitors feel hidden and protected, yet can look through ‘blind spots’ to observe human nature, even as those in the lobby can look in on them. From the lobby perspective there is also a sense of prospect and refuge as passers-by are hidden in the anonymity of busyness and are caught up in the prospects of the day.

Elements of prospect and refuge bring in aspects of our social and physical natures and how our situation can make us feel safe, comfortable and hopeful. The blind gives us windows to observe ourselves as megafauna, as connected to nature and each other.

This installation was paired with a weekly program series called Human-Nature Field Notes that included writing, sketching, and discussion oriented events.