Projecting the Social Life of Small Urban Stoops

International
Monday, June 25, 2012
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Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Simon Devitt/Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Simon Devitt/Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

New Yorkers like to believe that they’ve perfected stoop sitting culture, but half a world away in Auckland, New Zealand, experimental design collaborative Oh.No.Sumo has taken stoop sitting a step higher. As part of St. Paul Street Gallery‘s 2012 exhibition program of curatorial practice, Oh.No.Sumo created a small-scale tactical intervention forming an unexpected theater on a small stoop where the steps are the seats. Responding to the intersection’s lack of social life and the public’s retreat into smart-phone isolation, the Stairway Cinema creates a communal node and conversation piece.

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Simon Devitt/Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Simon Devitt/Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

Built from a structural pine skeleton and covered in a waterproof, tactile red fabric, Stairway Cinema projects movies shared on the Internet via social media onto a screen visible both from the stoop and the sidewalk in an attempt to remake the once-isolating medium of smart phones into the art that brings community together. According to the designers, “Our ongoing goal is to experiment with architecture and the way it can engage with the public in unique and exciting ways.”

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

Oh.No.Sumo's "Stairway Cinema" in New Zealand. (Courtesy Oh.No.Sumo)

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One Response to “Projecting the Social Life of Small Urban Stoops”

  1. Walter Chambers says:

    Are they isolating themselves by interacting with the architecture (movie) instead of the street life, or are they interacting with more people by attracting and keeping them? This one is a close call. If it is the latter, one must assume that watching the movie is secondary to interacting with the people they attract and keep.

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