A fluffy boom mic, a placard, and headphones. This is how we hit the city centre in small groups over the day. The brief? Getting a sense of how people relate to this city’s centre, what they perceive as centre and the views from their windows in relation to that.
We sketch out some questions at the beginning of the day, but other than that we’re all left to our own devices. All of
us will have to think about this independently and contribute our thoughts to the outcomes, so I hope that such open approach offers an opportunity for each collaborator to circle the subject – to begin familiarising themselves in their own way with the complex of themes associated with the project.
I always have a stone in my stomach before this kind of process – and so far I always ended it on a high. I imagine people are as tired of corporate sales tactics as I am. I really hate being perceived to be that type of nuisance.
To most passers by the boom mic and the headphones are redeeming features, but striking a balance between proactively approaching people and just waiting for them to come up to me can be tricky. In the end things fall into place and once the train is rolling one conversation seems to lead to another.
The whole thing works. People get curious and – not only am I surprised by their stories and opinions – several city centre residents declare an interest and enthusiasm for working with us. Then it’s sheer curiosity taking over – the high. What’s more – people very much make the connection between what they see from their windows and what their life in Exeter (centre) is to them. Feeling like more of it… we’ll be out there again soon.
Volkhardt Müller 2.3.13