Remix the City: Space HiJack — Smoke Free SLC

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For my box project, I really wanted to make something playable that would fit our “playable city” chapter. I love the idea of subtle interventions in a building or a city that people can play with/have fun with, but mostly that defeat the seriousness and hostility of rules and commodities. The smoke free campaign has been a very discussed subject since the beginning of the year and even earlier. Of course, health wise etc it is a good idea to ban smoking on campus, but students/professors wise it really is a shame we won’t be allowed to smoke a casual cigarette on the lawn or outside of Heimbold. I think it is a reality that many students and professors smoke, here at Sarah Lawrence especially, and I feel like the school is really taking away something that ‘matters’ to many, when at the end, it really is a personal choice to decide weather or not to smoke and I don’t think the non-smokers are particularly negatively affected by our smoking. I think the smoking ban will cause more trouble than there already is, because how can you tell so many people they aren’t allowed to smoke here or there anymore, after they have been doing it for so long. Personally, I do not think the smoking ban will make people stop smoking, I just think it will cause extra trouble with administration etc.

My box project revolves around the smoking ban campaign and is kind of a mockery of it. Heimbold is also a prime location for smokers. People are always outside of Heimbold smoking cigarettes, are always asking people for cigarettes etc, so I thought the location was perfect for the installation of my box.

I came up with the idea of making a “fake cigarette” box pretty quickly, but the design/what I would do with it changed a lot. At first, I was going to make a big box filled with real cigarette packs, but with bubble gum/chocolate cigarettes inside and put a little sign saying “grab a cig” or something. Then I thought the message should be more ironic/more a critique of the smoking ban. I then thought of filling up packs of cigarettes still with the same fake cigarettes, but leaving them here and there, and see the reactions of the people. I thought that would be fun, but I don’t think it was practical/straightforward enough. Finally I just decided to build a cardboard box, on which I stuck images of cigarette buds and ash on all four sides, and then stuck empty packets of Marlboro lights on the sides on top of the images (2 on each side). Then, instead of filling the box with packets of cigarettes, I just dumped all the bubble cigarettes in there, so they would be much more visible. I wrote on the top of the box, on all four sides: “SMOKE FREE SLC” with the quotation marks, to emphasize the irony. I think my box was pretty playable in the sense that it kind of tricked people in thinking that they were real cigarettes, but also in the sense that it engaged with an issue that most people, especially in Heimbold I feel like, care about. I also thought it was fun that they are actually bubble gum cigarettes that you can eat, and not just fake cigarettes. Like Sophie’s box project, I think it’s nice when people can take something from a project, even if in my case it’s just bubble gum.

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~More documentation to come~

Author: Mathilde Hauducoeur