Portsmouth Says Hi 2005
Portsmouth Says “Hi” was a community interactive project in which people were asked to respond to several environmental themes over the course of three weeks. Seven themed, graphic, orange ‘letterboxes’ were placed in a variety of locations throughout downtown Portsmouth. Each box invited passersby to respond with a contribution to this community poetry project on several social and environmental themes: ocean, community, open space, roads, art, commerce and history. Each day, these notes were mined from the boxes and woven together to create a new ‘found’ poem to be displayed on the electronic DPW sign that is better known for messages like ‘slow down’.
The poems were created by culling ideas, phrases and words from the contributed notes and transforming them into a poem of six, three-line stanzas. Each poem was displayed in the town center for 24 hours on an electronic message board. These poems sparked both individual and community reconsideration of our city, culture and self-image and offered a gesture of goodwill, or a “Hi” to neighbors, tourists, workers and the community as a whole.
This project demonstrates my desire to create work that engages community in a fun manner and shares a subtext of community and environmental awareness. With this work, I witnessed the power in reaching out to my audience, the general public, through unexpected but cooperative means.