Points of View was part of next question’s ongoing exploration of spatial practices in urban settings. The project examined the ways in which people see Pittsburgh
In the first stage of the project, we collected favorite views of the city’s inhabitants. After visiting many of these viewpoints, we selected several that seemed most interesting and representative and then created interactive dioramas based on these vantage points. With these sculptural works, we seek to address the complex multisensory character of experience, in contrast to traditional treatments of the aesthetically pleasing view such as the picture postcard.
- Pittsburgh Map TableAt the installation in Spinning Plates Gallery in Pittsburgh, gallery visitors could indicate their own favorite points of view with markers on a large magnetic table with a map of Pittsburgh.
- Washington’s LandingWashington's Landing, also known as Herr's Island, is in the Allegheny River. When we visited, we found that a new subdivision is being put up there. When viewers depress the foot pedal, houses pop up from behind the shrubbery, blocking the painted view of the river and city.
- Mount WashingtonMount Washington is one of the most frequently mentioned favorite vantage points. While this seems to provide a sweeping overview of the city, what is most compelling is the amount of diverse activity visible. Visitors could turn the crank to view moving dioramas through magnified peepholes.
- Josh Gibson’s GraveOne of the favorite vantage points we collected was the grave of Josh Gibson, famous baseball player who played with the Crawford Colored Giants and the Homestead Grays. The written description of the view given to us was "downward, at plot and flat headstone." Pushing the switch at the base of the diorama lights up a smaller diorama inside the piece, depicting Forbes Field where Gibson often played.
- Roadside ShrineOne of the vantage points we collected was this shrine to the Virgin Mary near the end of Ward Street (off the Boulevard of the Allies). As the contributor described, "The shrine...is perched on the cliff overlooking the parkway." The stations of the cross lead the visitor to a view of the downtown. Impressed by the level of detail at the site, we tried to mirror it in our diorama. We also included the sound of the busy highway at the base of the cliff.
- Rooftop GardenOne of the vantage points we collected was the rooftop garden of Carol Kumata. The beautiful garden does indeed provide a fine view of the surrounding area. When the viewer uses the handle at the diorama's base to raise the garden, the view, printed on fabric, is revealed.