Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Virtual Street Corners

Check out this crazy little virtual street corner news service grant funded "art" installation linking Dudley Square with Coolidge Corner. No, I mean come to Dudley Square and really check it out - participate in it!

Come to Dudley, go to A Nubian Notion, step up to the mic, look into the camera and shout out a "hey, how ya doin'" to your fellow citizens on the 66 bus route. Don't be shy or afraid of making a fool of yourself - that's part of the fun, though fun is not the intent of the project. Virtual Street Corners merges digital art with citizen journalism and is about sharing local news, according to the exhibit's website.

Virtual Street Corners creator, John Ewing in Dudley talks to people in Coolidge Corner.

The cutest part of the whole project? The ingenuousness with which the website states: "Coolidge Corner and Dudley Square are just 2.4 miles apart. A fifteen minute ride on the 66 bus yet few people from each neighborhood appear to visit the other. Why?"

That's sweet copy for big money grant funding but curious on two counts. First, it makes me wonder if whoever wrote the above has ever spent any time on the 66 bus. Yup, you sometimes can drive from Dudley to Coolidge in 15 minutes but even with the students out of town, you're not gonna do that kind of easy time on the 66 between Dudley and Coolidge - unless it's a no traffic/few passengers run.

Secondly, sadly, people from Roxbury don't like to come to Dudley. Why would anyone from Brookline? Coolidge Corner is a safe, clean, mixed use neighborhood with a stupendous independent movie theater, sex toy shop (they're not just for sleazy guys in trenchcoats anymore), locally owned shoe stores, and beautiful arcade. Other attractions include a plethora of good restaurants, a real wine shop or two, a dance studio, fitness studio, music school, and one of the best indie bookstores in the entire metro Boston area. Coolidge Corner is well-maintained and business owners in the area take a vested interest in the AREA and not just their own square footage.

Dudley's got soul. It's got history. It's got Brandy and Haley and Tropical Foods. It's got that crummy decent new garden shop where people are stoned and/or rude all the time helpful (and I'd been so excited about it). And at 6 p.m. on weekdays, it's got tumbleweeds and rolled up sidewalks.

Oh, wait! That's where the "art" comes in, right? By drawing attention to the incredible disparities in the two areas, people - civic and business leaders are shamed into doing the right thing and they pour resources into a neglected district. Or not. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Let me know when they start busing grammar school kids between Roxbury and Brookline.