Artists Give Community Something To Talk About

On: December 22, 2006
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About Jan Simons
Associate Professor New Media at the Dept. of Media Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

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December 22, 2006 Artists Give Community Something To Talk About
The People Speak is a London-based collection utilizing and ‘updating’ various communication techniques to facilitate exchange among residents of the city. They first gained widespread attention, online, for their radio show, ‘Traffic-island disks: sounding out the city,’ in which they stopped pedestrians wearing headphones to chat with them about what they were listening to. The project makes people aware of the protective social and personal spheres they build for themselves, within cities. More recently, ‘Who Wants to Be?’ is a spoof on the American game show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ in which the artists use a game-like system of polls to address questions of democracy within poor communities. TPS’s ‘’ site tracks the etymology of emergent, locally-used vocabularies, while ‘Directionless Enquiries’ establishes a peer-to-peer network of mobile phone users who can count on each other for help and random advice. The group now offers a downloadable ! toolkit for carrying out community-building DIY media projects in your own neighborhood. Check it out today and start doing good his weekend! – Elizabeth Johnston

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