Bench Stories: Tales of Encounters in Public Space

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One new idea for every day in 2011. We're talking big, small, local, international, in action and on the drawing board. Here's today's -- what's yours?

Sit down. Seth Caplan wants to tell you to listen to a story. 

After studying public rituals, habits, and norms of pedestrian life, the New York-based artist had an idea: place two audio boxes on two benches in major thouroughfares in New York (one in Union Square, the other on the subway platform on the uptown F/M 14th Street stop) filled with short, personal stories during Manhattan's annual Art in Odd Places festival in October. 

Caplan writes that his project, called Bench Stories, will contain pre-recorded stories from volunteers nationwide about public encounters that pedestrians, bench sitters, and the likely New York bench dweller, will be able to experience.

"[The project] focuses on moments of anticipation, tension, power and vulnerability when we connect with others in public," he writes. "Bench Stories will facilitate a moment for participants to contemplate the conflation of public and private space in pedestrian life." 

 Caplan is currently collecting stories of public encounters and connections that will end up streaming through the two boxes. 

For more information about the project and how to participate, check out the Bench Stories website.

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