Interactive Installation Helps Strangers Talk To Each Other

Three students create Branch Out — an opportunity for anonymous conversations in public spaces — as part of NYU’s ITP year end show.

PSFK had the chance to check out NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) end-of-year show last month and came away with 10 innovative ideas that remap the communications landscape. Check out one of our picks below.

A look at what happens when you get strangers talking. Branch Out: Start a Conversation With a Stranger is an interactive installation created by placing painted ‘tree stumps’ at either end of a public space. As people are drawn to the stumps by curiosity they find the imploring title of the work written on top.

If they choose to participate, they are able to speak words into one stump that will be heard at the other. “In parks we surround ourselves with strangers,” said Lynn Burke, one of the creators of Branch Out, along with fellow students Tak Cheung and Stef Kleinman, “but we tend to isolate ourselves with technology. We wanted to give people a way to talk to each other while still feeling a safe sense of anonymity in this public space that is so ripe for interaction.”

Branch Out

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