Posted December 20th 2011 at 9:57 am by
in Street Chairs

Thoughts on an Empty Street Chair from Lima, Peru

Peru 1_small

On November 13th, 2011, Elia and I went to the district of Miraflores in Lima to ask people what they thought about the picture of an empty chair in the street. It was a Sunday afternoon, and we were in Kennedy Park, which is in a middle-class district of Lima, but the crowds outside were diverse. We positioned ourselves near painters selling their artwork. I stood with the Old Guys Chatting Chair poster that CoLab mailed to me as Elia interviewed those who stopped to look at the photo. Elia asked: “What do you feel or think when seeing an empty chair, like this one, in the street of an urban area?”

Peru 2_small

In just two hours, we completed a nice neighborhood experiment about an originally private object that found itself in public space. The question was about the chair, not about the picture. The picture’s role was supporting people’s imagination. Answers to the question show that people in Lima turned out to be quite imaginative.

Below are just a few answers from our interviews:

  • – It makes me think of a city without unemployed or poor people, because otherwise someone would be seated there.
  • – Someone has put the chair their to watch the street
  • – Someone is missing
  • – It is a chair for those who cannot walk
  • – Suddenly, it brought sadness to me
  • – An old man who wants to move into his house
  • – It makes me think of my home because I like antiquity
  • – The chair is waiting for someone
  • – It is calling for the attention of the people

To see a full list of everyone’s responses, please e-mail colabradio@mit.edu

Installation and photos by Sebastiao Ferreira

This post is part of the International Street Chair Pop-Up Show.

One response to “Thoughts on an Empty Street Chair from Lima, Peru”

  1. Christina says:

    What a great installation! It is incredible the reactions that people had to the poster.