The Union Rescue Mission---Los Angeles, California
The National Endowment for the Arts/ Design Arts
The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department
The Union Rescue Mission Foundation
This public art program is comprised of two primary elements. The Electronic Statement, an interactive electronic information system located on the exterior of the building-facing toward the corporate skyline to the west-enables shelter inhabitants to transmit public statements generated by the residents themselves.
In addition, the collective voice of the homeless community has been composed as an open-ended linguistic structure that juxtaposes words collected from the Mission's residents, forming an encircling frieze of inscriptions in the Orientation Rotunda. The verbal content of the latter was gathered via in-depth interviews of the homeless community, while the content of the interactive, electronic statements is a matter of free speech.
As a form-language system, the inscription elements of this art program represent the voices of the Mission residents—collective and individual, permanent and extemporaneous, self-reflective and politicized. This art program seeks to dignify the environment for the residents by elevating their words to a level of monumentality and will empower them to exercise a public voice, both as individuals and as a socio-economic community, through the mastery of an interactive, digital technology.