Common Ground

Common Ground is an art project created to stimulate collaboration between people of varying political ideologies and interests. A large barrier that comes in the way of current collaboration is villainizing of the other side. There may in fact be some similarities in values, however these will sparsely be discovered. Providing a means of starting conversations between political opposites, which are conversations that are not currently probable in today’s political climate, Common Ground provides a space and activity to break down the barriers.

To become a part of the Common Ground experience, one must fill out a survey online, detailing their political beliefs, interests, and core values. Each person is then assigned to a team of other individuals; this team is comprised of people with varying political beliefs, yet similar core values. The team then comes together at the build site for the sculpture. With the supervision of a professional sculpture, the team is tasked with customizing a triangular prism to embody a key aspect of a community; the aspect is something that the participants believe everyone in a community should experience. To customize the prisms, the team may use different materials, colors, and other additions. The team must discuss their morals with the group to choose and elaborate on their feature of choice. An example of this would be if the team chose “exposure to nature”, the team could then transform their triangular prism into a planter.

The triangular prisms of all the various groups are then placed together to create a large-scale art installation in a city’s park to represent the collaboration necessary in building a society; the prisms are geometric modules that fit through dovetail joints. This act of choosing a vital characteristic allows people to find common ground beneath their political ideologies, realizing that they may have morals that are similar to their political opposites. Together, all of the prisms create a structure that illustrates a holistic view of values from a diverse group of people. After the team projects are complete, the members of each team will be able to read the survey answers of their group. This allows individuals to realize that collaboration is possible with people who subscribe to other belief systems.

After the installation is complete, it will be placed in a public place, permitting Common Ground to continue as an immersive experience for different people. People will be able to walk through the structure and view the team’s components of an ideal community. Additionally, the public will be made aware that people of varying ideologies came together to build the sculpture.

The desirability factor of Common Ground is illustrated through people’s desire to make a lasting impact on their community, and be able to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Common Ground will be made a possibility through either the city or a local modern art museum. Artists who specialize in large, collaborative art installations will be commissioned. One main source of these artists is the people who make the art pieces for Burning Man, an art festival which boasts new sculptures every year.

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