French 2Design

Spatial ConTXTs

Syracuse, New York


Architect Anda French has found a way to tap public mobile device fixation and direct it toward imaginative exploration of the built environment. In her Spatial ConTXTs projects, French uses text messaging to drive city-wide interactive installations. For Sibylline TXT, named after an oracle in Virgil’s Aeneid, French dispersed an original fictional story across 26 art and cultural sites over a span of 30 days. Participants were encouraged to rove the city of Syracuse, and on reaching each destination, would receive parts of the narrative via text message. French adapted a similar structure for SyrAsks, a project with Syracuse University and middle school students, in which the city texted responses to student questions at specific sites, fostering new forms of public dialogue.

Community, Information, Pleasure
66 days – 36 days preparation + 30 days execution
Problem - mobile devices lead to disengaged and atomized public
Solution - text message-based urban installation