Talking Stumps: Starting Conversations In Public Spaces

One of the biggest problems in huge, hyper-dense places is a receding sense of community. It’s surprisingly hard to get to know people when you live in a large, faceless tenement block.

To play with this idea, Tisch School of the Arts students Lynn Burke, Stefanie Kleinman, and Tak Cheung have created a piece called ‘Branch Out: Start a Conversation with a Stranger’ as part of last month’s spring show. The fine folks at PSFK wrote of the piece is composed of two stump-like structures outfitted with walkie-talkies inside and a button on top that implores the passerby to ‘press to talk’ to a complete stranger on the other side of the park.

‘Branch Out’ is a lovely reminder of the importance of strangers and our interactions with them: most of the people we encounter on a daily basis are completely new to us, and it’s worth remembering that our conversations with them are important, too.