CHALLENGE ONE: finding the middle

finding the middle is an immersive, nationwide experience which asks participants to be willing to lie down with strangers. As a concept, the design attempts to tackle the challenge of increasing geographic polarization by collapsing the vast space of America down into one continuous experience.

 The experience itself is built around an architecture: a raised, 10 foot by 10 foot bed of grass, enclosed with low walls. Those who visit the installation are given a full hour during the day to lie down on the grass; it’s a free respite from a busy day.

Each installation is linked, by means of hidden microphones and speakers, to another similar installation in a different location around the country. While participants in each of those installations can hear and speak to each other, they have no way to see one another.

In Act I, a participant in one of those installations are allowed to speak freely for 20 min while the other listens. In Act II, the situation is reversed. In Act III, two-way conversation is allowed.

Not expressly political, finding the middle is more a social experiment in getting to know another through their intimate thoughts. Freed from the awkwardness of face-to-face interaction, and given a physical environment which promotes relaxation and sky-gazing, participants are encouraged to open up to a stranger who they never see.

As a graphic, the poster’s typography is intended to be reminiscent of two figures, lying in opposite directions, on a bed of grass. The layering of colors suggests separation of views, with the possibility of coming together to find common ground.