Curious Ear is an empathy-building project where you can share what's on your mind with someone you may never otherwise meet. The idea is to bridge divides and break down barriers between demographically disparate groups: Young and old. Black and white. Red and blue. Homeowners and the homeless. With more understanding and compassion for each other, more people get to know, understand and lend an ear (and a hand!) when others need it most.
Right now we have two 7-foot tall installations: a giant ear and a giant mouth. The ear "listens" and the mouth "speaks." Our animator created a slick visual way of showing how this all works, and our team of developers created custom apps for each. Record into the ear (a story, wish or secret based on a prompt provided, like "What do you wish you would have told them?"). And someone across the city can listen at the mouth.
We've been working with and reaching out to local organizations, like Resolutions Northwest, Human Solutions, Fred Sly, head of the Rose City Nonviolent Communication program--which extends through the Oregon Prison system and youth correctional facilities (we are working on Ear/Mouth pairings here). Plus, assisted living and K-12 pairings are in the planning stages (Friendship Health Center and Grout Elementary). We recently unveiled both installations working together at Spaceness (spaceness.com) and collected over 100 awesome stories. We have some featured on our website, and are working to have all available there.
We'd like to build more of these installations (about $490 ea), and have more ideas based on our collaborations so far--eg creating more permanent pairings, smaller units that can be placed on walls or passed around classrooms, and events where we can get local artists to help build these structures—events featuring local artisans and talent that the community can get to know better.
Our goal is to have at least 2 week-long pairings a month (though we can do more with your help!)
Funded by Portland, OR (June 2017)