I’m interested in borders and how people manage their communities and identity. This is on a scale from the individual to local to global borders. For two years I’ve been working in communities in Italy (Florence), Serbia (Belgrade), Greece (Kefalonia, Corfu and Thessaloniki), and Cairo, Egypt. I use interactive maps and other designed things in order to understand and develop long-term connections and dialogue in the community. This particular project is about the communities of western Greece and creating ongoing dialogue about local issues and history, living and working abroad, as well as Greece’s connections to the EU.
Instead of digital interactive maps, I developed portable kits based on the original interviews. The references can be sorted into simple categories in each box. The discussions and sorting occur in the spaces where people live and work. These arrangements can be photographed, displayed, and compared. Sorting also helps people talk about things and discuss what they think.
I created projected animations that express a number of ideas and themes from the research in discussion with community members. These are projected in the exhibition space along with interviews and the other material as a documentation of the issues in the community.
From these interactions, Greek and US design students are now working in “design and social innovation”1 creating design solutions working with the resources of individuals and communities in western, and now eastern Greece. The work has broadened to urban environments in Thessaloníki, which is the second largest city after Athens. These networks include academia and municipal government, the Greek Ministry of Culture, (as well as connections here in the United States) and other stakeholders.