The “Box for Expression” project is an installation that supports storytelling and sharing experiences in puplic space of the city. It is a small scale modular/mobile infrastructure that can be installed in different parts of the city of Athens depending on the needs of each action. It is available to creative groups and organizations that are active in the field of oral history, arts or research of any kind in urban open space. The physical infrastructure is a wooden box externally covered with mirrors, reflecting the landscape where it is hosted, and creating an aesthetic harmony with its surrounding environment, while at the same time, reflecting the subjects approaching it, inviting (us) to an introspection process through experiencing its action. The Box for Expression is equipped with digital means and tools to support actions in the public space. It has a high definition tablet, a shotgun microphone, a speaker, power-bank and a battery for the internal lights. For the purposes of the project, we developed an open-source web app in order to give the opportunity to participants to interact and save their answers through a digital environment.

The “Public Toilet of Thoughts” is the first use case scenario which settled in and appropriated the Box for Expression in July 2021. The idea was created as an experimentation in-between research and art in order to explore how would people respond to the challenge of expressing and sharing feelings and experiences about the pandemic. Social distancing as a consequence of Covid-19 pandemic has escalated social isolation of contemporary metropolises. We wanted therefore to create a symbolic space of reconnection between the passer-by and the neighbourhood, and also with the community that inhabits it. To form a sharing process where the physical space of the city would feed with thoughts, narratives, sounds and images our social imaginary.

The project emerged through the partnership of three different organizations: The Image, Sound and Cultural Representation Lab (ISCRL), Department of Cultural Technology and Communication (University of the Aegean), the Open Lab Athens and the Ludd Lab. It is supported and funded by the Actors of Urban Change 2019-2021 program.

Small documentary from pilot implementation of the box as A Public Toilet of Thoughts in Kypseli, Chalandri and Kesariani filmed by Des Films.