In collaboration with an exhibition about race and identity in America, I was asked to develop an interactive exhibit in collaboration with the YWCA San Antonio at a gallery space inside the Institute of Texan Cultures. The intent of the installation was to highlight the fact that race is a socially constructed idea, one with a myriad different interpretations.
The primary focus of the campaign was a 15' x 23' wall bearing the YWCA's pledge against racism. A grid of cards were adhered to the wall, one side showing the hand of a volunteer and the reverse highlighting their geographic ancestry and personally identified race. The activity was meant to spot the discrepancy between skin tone and racial classification, thereby subverting those classification.
In addition to the exhibit, a pop-up web site was created for the duration of the exhibit. Visitors were invited to write on the wall itself, but were also given a card to take home with the web site address. Online, they were encouraged to share personal reflections about the experience as well as their own accounts of how racism had affected their lives. The contributions were made up of video, email and voicemail submissions.
Steven Smith studied computer science and anthropology in Texas and design and long-form improv comedy in New York. He earned his MFA from the Designer as Author Program at the School of Visual Arts before starting Flux&Render. His work favors a playful, surprising design approach that is rooted in a love of music, performance and laughter.