Sarah Fox
Master’s Project

MyOpticon is structured around a series of community-based participatory design workshops. These workshops serve to provide the space and resources to discover and discuss the inherent communal values and tangible resources present in the neighborhood.
The first workshop gives residents an opportunity to be creators and curators of a website which features images and stories on an interactive map. The activity fosters conversation about the state of the neighborhood at present and what that means for the future.

The second workshop gives residents an opportunity to not just use technology to document the neighborhood, but to build digital cameras from component parts. Through the process of making their own digital camera, they gain an introduction to electronics and sensor technology and through the use of their cameras continue an exploration of the identity of their neighborhood.

The broader goal of the project is to engage in citizen collection of data as an important factor in staying in conversation with corporate and governmental entities that define public space and legislate private interactions. Video, photo, and other types of citizen-produced testimony can serve as evidence of the effects of decisions made by these governing bodies. This documentation can be used for the purposes of protest, praise, and historic preservation.