Wishing Wall, 2014

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Wishing Wall is an interactive installation that calls attention to the discriminatory nature of urban planning. In Washington, DC, many African American residents are isolated east of the Anacostia River, separated from more affluent quadrants of the city.  Wishing Wall is a self-supporting chain link fence panel representing a barrier that prevents intruders from entering a designated area, or conversely, confines residents to a designated area (as in the case of chain link fencing in institutional settings, or perhaps low-income neighborhoods).  Wishing Wall was installed at a fair east of the river in Anacostia Park where attendees included residents of Anacostia and visitors from other areas inside and outside of D.C.  Fair attendees were invited to write wishes for their community on multi-colored vinyl ribbons which they tied onto the chain link fence.  Forestry flagging tape was used as the ribbons and represents the delineation of territories.  There was significant variation in people’s wishes, from the whimsical to the idealistic to the politically-charged.  Some examples are: “I wish I had a super hero in my neighborhood.”  “I wish we lived in a world without corruption.”  “I wish for my neighbors to overcome differences in age and race and be friends.”  One person wrote, “I would like more of a police presence in my neighborhood” while another person wrote, “I don’t want so many police around.”

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