Poet's House Challenge - Newark Public Library

“Poetry drives you, not hardware.”

– Red Burns

For Poet’s House Design Challenge, I worked in a team with Nick, Jaclyn, Hub, and Isabel for city Newark. The challenge focuses us how to establish a connection between the art museum and library, the public area and this institution, the poetry and science. The goal for us is how to arouse people’s attention to poetry by using some innovate way, and cultivate poetry into these spaces.

We looked into the map to research on the location of Newark Museum and Newark Public Library. Through map, we found there is a park in between those two institutions which perfectly form a triangle and sort of a path to those two.  Since in our group, we are really interested in building an interaction flow which can engage people the most, involve the public, connect nature and culture. 

By looking back some note from Lee(Poet’s House) mentioned, we want to create a synergy and series of conversations between scientists and poets. They emphasized that both of these institutions (library and natural history museum) have materials or objects we want to bring out to the attention of the public. We would like to get people to think about their life on earth as creatures and big life questions; make people more aware of the fate of the planet.  Also, museum and library should work together using poetry to talk about the ecological world.

Our mind map starts from a park because it is most accessible area to public compared with the other two. We decided to design a series interactive light installation to allow people to participate and also trigger this interaction to bring them actively involve in the whole process to get the full experience.

In the park, we design a series of solar-powered, typographic light installations, which also combine drawing and text in a new way. We inspired by Isabel’s illustration&poem book, “Poesia De Juan Paez Teran”.  This installation is powered by solar energy, but also activated by a touch of observers.

In the museum, we design a motion-activated/touch-sensitive interactive installation in an immersive dark room. The light will become brighter as participants work together, which also a metaphor that poetry as a light to enlighten us in a way.

In the library, we are going to set up a voice activated light sculpture that light becomes brighter as participant reads poem.

Our participatory installations are collectively building stages of perception, Encounter-Participate-Dialogue.

Our challenge based on the concept “Poetry as Light”. There is Juan Paez Teran’s fragment of a poem that provided by Isa.

“Poetry light of the soul,

Poetry you light the roads,

the darkest paths;

Everything is revealed with your light.”

                                          -Juan Paez Teran

Here are our Pitch Slides:

Poetry as Light