Times Square, a place where the expression of the capital flow seems to reach its culmination point, represents one of the most spectacular places in New York City. Conversely, the informal economy also shapes a part of its identity. Some street vendors have been working in the area of Times Square since 18 years and daily carrying their “shops” and selling their goods to passers buys and tourists. The Trouble-Shouters project aims to address the issues and necessities of the existent survival economy by setting small punctual interventions. Based on the concept of the informal provocation developed in my “Arizona Road” project, the Trouble-Shouters proposes to supplement the missing infrastructure for the street vendors, the “trouble-makers,” while simultaneously attracting new user groups.
The street vendors improvise their mobile shops with folding tables, luggage carriers, ironing boards, parasols and similar objects. The Trouble-Shouters combines these characteristics into a hybrid installation, expressed in the language the site: a parasol, an ironing board and a garment rack are attached to lamp and street sign bases. Different combinations of these objects are possible; elements for disposing, hanging and display can be combined with each other and flexibly moved around the pole, thus allowing for different shops sizes. The Trouble-Shouters can be used as advertising media – the entire project is meant to be sponsored by advertisement -, which becomes activated when being used by informal economy. In this way, the formal and informal systems of the city can become mutually stimulating. Aiming to add to the existing characteristic of the site, the Trouble-Shouters may also radiate a provocative impulse on the further informal layers of the New York City structure.
Azra Akšamija, Trouble Shooters, 2003
Place: Times Square, New York City, USA. Invited proposal for a public space installation for Creative Time’s Times Square Art Project 2003 / Organized byKyra Griffin, Vardit Gros, Carol Stakenas. Collaborators: Andreas Mayer, David Rhöse