To be honest, I didn’t think I would gain much from the exercise of simply going outside and LOOKING. And I do a person who looks, all the time. I stare at people and watch how they move and what they do and criticize them in my head. I get mad when people don’t use tools they are meant to be used, a type of vandalism.
However, I did gain from this exercise. Videotaping is definitely a new way of observing for me. People are much more likely to change the way they behave around a video camera. If I know there is a camera pointed to my direction I am most likely to straighten up, comb my fingers through my hair to make sure it falls on my shoulders the right way and then pretend I never saw it. I therefore tried to hold the camera down by my thigh and tilt it upwards.
Here are issues I observed:
New School staff sitting by Mopi, a small bodega who does not sell much more than coffee and a muffin. They did not seem to interact with eachother and it made me think of weather they do actually have another place of their own where they could interact during their lunch hour?! More than that, I was wondering how they view us, as they were looking at the main entrance to the school. How do they view us, as the spoiled rich students attending a design school. This, of course, is probably mostly in my head, but I left uncomfortable with it.
People speaking on their cell phones in public. A phenomenon I despise. Not that I don’t do it, but I feel it has taken away a beautiful part of social interaction.
Parking out side of the new school- no space. As well as that, it seems as though the building was not really built to function to all that it requires. It is very beautiful, I agree, but does it really come to fulfill our needs ? or does it come to photograph well in magazines that will attract students to the school? Does it make sense to carry logs of wood down to the basement by walking through very slim stairs?
People using the narrow slope outside of the 2 west 13 building as a bench. Looking at people and while on their cell phone.
BIKES- how excited I was when I saw the bike racks. I looked at the way they were tied to the posts. The kinds of ‘protection’ mechanisms against theft. Is there enough space to tie bikes? Not really…We should encourage bike usage. I know people who would like to ride their bikes to school but don’t because there isn’t sufficient place to lock them outdoors and are afraid of theft. This is a big issue. I might buy a pair if I didn’t have to walk it up 4 flights of stairs everytime I bring it back into my apartment.. or if it wasn’t dangerous to lock it outdoors.
Bikes again- one positive observation was that some people left their helmets on the bikes, untied. One person left a towel resting on his seat. Untouched. I loved seeing this confidence in the strangers. This is what the world should be.
Next to it, however was a pair of bikes that was left with nothing to call its own. No seat, no wheels.
I noticed a woman with a walking cane walking very slowly as she depends on it. She followed the building wall as not to interrupt the crowds.
I took a close look at the newspaper racks. The vandalism. The lack of newspapers inside them, and instead- rotten fruit and wrinkled paper. People really don’t care, and it hurts. It is so ugly to see. Graphity, mechanisms that don’t work, waste and dirt.
A woman on a wheel chair trying to get into an office building. She could not access it on her own and had to wait for someone to open the door for her. That did not seem reasonable to me, especially as it was merely a co-incidence there was someone there.