I visited the Monument Lab in Malcom X Park in West Philly this Saturday afternoon. It’s a small park with green space and a playground on Pine Street between 51st and 52 st.
It was a quite afternoon. It took me a while to find the Monument Lan tent. I walked my bike around the saw three staff members hanging out on the bench. We had a nice conversation. It all sounded so familiar. Some people would think we were soliciting money and avoid us. Some people would reject in a polite way. There were still people who were interested and a few proposals would came in per day. And then I put down my proposal, remembering how difficult it was for me to get one serious idea from people when I was working for Monument Lab.
I have been involved in Monument Lab since last September, when we were still looking at the proposals collected in the spring of 2015. Back then we only have lab at City Hall and had the lab for a shorter time. My jobs included cleaning up and sorting the proposal data we collected, making vectors for the publications, and showing up to help with the public events.
Public art is frustrating. I was upset with the efficiency of such a “civic research” project. The audience is still limited. The voices we heard are still biased. Maybe there is a way we can do this better but there will still be inefficiency and prejudice. Maybe that’s part of the process.