Museum of the Phantom City

New York City

2009 to present

The Museum of the Phantom City is a public art project that uses personal digital devices to transform the city into a living museum. The downloadable mobile app reveals visionary speculative design proposals for various sites in New York City – Buckminster Fuller’s dome over Midtown, for example, or Raymond Loewy’s helicopter landing field planted over Bryant Park, or Michael Sorkin’s scheme for a homeless colony on the West Side railyards. Architects Irene Cheng and Brett Snyder’s project explores how mobile technology might go beyond traditional navigational functions to transform the way we experience the city. Inspired by the Situationists who strived to make ordinary landscapes appear unfamiliar and strange, this “museum without walls” hopes to intensify urban experiences, introducing pleasure and mystery to the metropolitan condition.

Accessibility, Community, Information, Pleasure
10,000 – realized with support of Van Alen Institute fellowship
6 months – original version
Problem - how can mobile media make a city’s hidden stories visible
Solution - let users view utopian architectural visions while standing on projects’ intended sites