Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cultural Heritage Artists Project: Lisa Link

Three questions for CHAP artist Lisa Link.

How did you find out about the Orchard Street Shul project and what motivated you to participate?
I found it somewhere online and was interested because I used to work in New Haven and it was a chance to investigate a place near where I used to go to work every day.

Can you explain your contribution to the project and its connection to the shul?
After visiting the Orchard Street Shul and speaking to some New Haven residents, I kept thinking about the impact of urban renewal projects on people's lives. For the Orchard Street Shul project, I set out to create a piece that gives a small glimpse into the intersection of personal memory, politics, and the built environment. I chose the format of a public Google Map because of its accessibility as a space on the World Wide Web, its capacity to juxtapose layers of information and its option for public participation. I am interested in the contrast between the personal reflections of the people I spoke with and the generic but so functional visual interface of Google Maps. I wanted to place the words and photos gathered from my learning about this aspect of New Haven's history on the map; over the parking lots and highways that were once the vibrant Jewish neighborhoods.

How does this work fit into the context of your other art work?
Most of my other work is more directly political in content and activist in context. My work is about giving people voice in the media and lately, as artist, standing farther in the background, acting as a catalyst for conversation and connections rather than as a focal point as a maker of objects. That is why I chose the format of the Google map - it can reach a lot of people and allows for community participation and my role is almost invisible. I've also been exploring ways to incorporate concepts that I am exploring in my job as a web designer into my art projects and seek to blur the boundaries that I used to set up between these two worlds of "art" and "interactive design".

To visit Lisa's artwork online, click here.

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