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ThinkPlace and Daily Tous les Jours public engagement installation Museum of Possibilities

Harnessing delight to create the city of tomorrow

What kind of future city do you want to live in?

Has the government where you live ever tried to ask you?

Even if they have, it probably fell on deaf ears. We know that traditional engagement practices often fail to generate enthusiasm.

Fill out a survey. Attend a focus group. Yawn, Snooze.

What if we fired up your imagination instead? What if we made it fun?

As part of the Design Canberra Festival ThinkPlace is teaming up with Montreal-based art collective Daily Tous Les Jours for an immersive free public event known as Museum of Possibilities.

Canberra’s City Hill will be transformed into a colourful forest of floating balloons for one day only. This arresting visual spectacle will host… anybody who wants to stop by.

Visitors will pick up a paper ‘arrow’ and write down what they would like to see, do, or who they would like to meet in their city centre.

As they wander through the balloon forest they can attach their reflections to a balloon. Extra prompts – ‘at sunset’, ‘by bicycle’ or ‘with the girl of my dreams’ – help visitors imagine scenarios of when, how, and with whom events might happen.

Visitors are also given stickers, allowing them to vote for the suggestions they like from their fellow citizens.

It will be beautiful. And social. And fun. But it will not be entirely frivolous. ThinkPlace will distill the combined reflections, wishes and dreams of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, who visit the site into a report for the ACT Government.

Author
Natalie Coyles's profile'
Natalie Coyles
ThinkPlace and Daily Tous les Jours public installation Museum of Possibilities
Visitors to the installation can move among a forrest of balloons, sharing their hopes for the future of Canberra's city centre.

For ThinkPlace the opportunity to collaborate on this project reflects a commitment to being at the forefront when it comes to public engagement strategies and methodologies. It reflects an openness to moving beyond the ways governments have traditionally interacted with citizens and an enthusiasm for turning imagination and creativity into useable, well-crafted insights that can drive future policy-making.

“This is about taking a bleeding-edge, innovative approach to public engagement,” says ThinkPlace’s Natalie Coyles.

“We know that some of the traditional approaches that governments take to these kind of consultations aren’t necessarily that effective. By firing people’s imaginations, engaging with their sense of playfulness and fun in a way that is whimsical and also visual, we believe we can create powerful new connections and in doing so generate fresh insights.”

Artistic Director of DESIGN Canberra, Rachael Coghlan said the event would be a key part of this year’s festival.

“We are thrilled to invite all Canberrans to participate in this unique, creative, free and democratic exercise. All contributions from the community will be shared with the ACT Government via the City Renewal Authority,” she said.

About the event

Museum of possibility runs for one day only, on Thursday November 22 from 9am-7pm.

Visitors can participate in playful activities including bingo and dice while musical entertainment and public talks will also feature throughout the day.

Entry is free and open to anybody. School and community groups will be given special tours through the installation.

The event is part of the Design Canberra Festival, run by Craft ACT. ThinkPlace is a Gold Sponsor of the Festival.

About Daily Tous les Jours​

Daily Tous les Jours is a Montreal-based design studio that creates large scale interactive installations driven by collective experiences.

Their work uses technology and storytelling to explore collaboration, the future of cities and the power of humans. They have run hugely-successful public installations all over their native Canada and in global cities such as san Francisco and Houston, Texas.

DTLJ is best known for its work in public spaces, where passing crowds are invited to play a critical role in the transformation of their environment and their relationships. Their work mixes digital arts, performance and placemaking, using contemporary tools that range from sensors, phones and real-time data, to musical instruments, dance choreographies, food and meditation.

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