where are you now

look around you

i need you so much closer

i'll always be here to catch you

The manhole is old. He is being around for a long time. He likes to protect people from falling into the vast network that sustains the city. Even if because of that he has to have us stepping on top of him and passing by all the time without realizing he is there, protecting us. But he is ok with that.
That is his job. Lately he has noticed that people are looking at the ground. Instead of looking at the city, people are looking at him more often. Well, they are not really looking at him but at their cellphones, pushing buttons, up and down and reading/writing something. At least before he was able to take a glimpse of their faces. He wants to make people more aware of their situation and, ideally, to prevent their “absent presence”. He wants them to disconnect and unplug from the invisible network and enjoy the city and its serendipity. He wants to grab people's attention, make them stop and aware of the city.

Walking in the street today is not the same as it was before. Today the experience of the city is dominated by the pervasiveness of the network. With the spread of the mobile phone and the growth of broadband, technological networks are currently more accessible and more ubiquitous. We interact with them not only at our homes and offices but everywhere we go. New behaviors emerged in the urban life of the streets: today we see people on the streets immersed in musical experiences, characterized by the presence of earplugs and others immersed in tiny screens, characterized by holding a device in their hands. They tune out to the surroundings around them.

To create a set of experiments in manhole covers that raise awareness to the fact that we don't have a sense of being physically open to the city. Those experiments aim to motivate people to disconnect from the network and enjoy the city and its surroundings, its serendipity. By experimenting with different scenarios and different messages and analyzing the results, I aim to achieve a better understanding of communication and interaction models.

click here to see more picts