The Big Book: Intervention at the NYPL

As a group project in my interface studio, Michelle Kirby, Ben Norskov, Marisela Riveros and I intervened at the Boston Public Library in order to get tourists more involved with the library. The video compilation above was edited by Marisela Riveros.
The Big Book Photo compliation by Michelle Kirby and Ben Norskov.
The book received a lot of attention and many different interactions from tourists, in particular. This photo, edited by Michelle Kirby and Ben Norskov, illustrates all of the ways that just one girl interacted with the piece.
A man selecting words from the Big Book at the NYPL
The intervention was a giant book from which people grabbed and assembled words to form their own sentences, or in a few cases, entire poems.
The Big Book at the NYPL - Remember every story
One of our favorite little phrases: Remember every story. The guy who made it took ages to select words, carefully laid them down, then sprinted away, into the library!
Gathering around the Big Book and its words
There were periods when a crowd would gather around the book and the act of putting down words became a spectator sport, whereas when an individual interacted alone, the mood was much more pensive and private.

'Project' => 'Select and study interactions in a public space with Michelle Kirby, Ben Norskov and Marisela Riveros. Then, find a means to engage the public in the space with an intervention/public installation of some sort.',

'Challenges' => 'Study movements and interactions in order to draw conclusions about the use of the space we chose (the New York Public Library), and then find a means of connecting to people outside the library in a deeper way—find a means to get them to engage with the library in ways beyond taking photos of the lions—a very popular activity!',

'Solutions' => 'After studying the space in front of the library and its use patterns, it was clear that most people coming to the main library building were tourists who wanted a photo opportunity. Even the ones who entered the library mostly just wanted to snap a few photos and leave. Since tourists are in New York for a short time only, we did not aim to get people to check out books, but rather, to connect them to the library in a meaningful way when they come up for a photo. We created a giant 4-foot-tall book full of partially punched out words that people could combine to create their own phrases, and in a few cases, entire poems!'

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