Assembling in the New Normal
In the era of a pandemic, public spaces have been reshaped for the better, but also for worse. Humans are social beings. We need interaction with others to thrive, but doing this over a screen for a long period of time has proven we must adapt in new ways. Assembling in the New Normal is a metaphor in the form of an installation exploring how to create public spaces in the post pandemic life we now live. How can we create a sustainable space for people to meet safely, whilst also evoking a sense of public privacy and comfortable aesthetic?
“Suddenly our world is filled with plastic barriers and distance stickers, our family reduced to pixels on a computer screen, let’s be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet and interact,” (Acquistapace, 2021, Antaginated).
This project uses scrap material from both urban and rural spaces to create an installation piece to be placed in public gathering spaces during a post pandemic time. By using materials that were found both in nature in the rural forest and in urban society the installation itself was made sustainably without over consumption or using plastic stickers, signage, or barriers as society has resorted to previously. The world had an immediate answer for corporate public spaces using caution tape, plastic screens, digitalization, and masks. All of this being mandatory, however, the atmosphere that this created was not welcoming for people and was very stale. “As society begins to build the “new normal” of emergence from the pandemic, efforts to rebuild and strengthen trust and solidarity are of as much importance as the ongoing distribution of vaccines and vigilance against coronavirus variants,” (The EditorsFebruary, 2022, Unpaginated). We have adapted, but what will happen when the pandemic comes back in different forms?
“We are not only speaking of the physical environment that surrounds us… but also about the values that this environment is charged with, how things are done and the expectations that the environment sets off,” (Bonnevier, 2013, Pg.4).
Creating a specific space for people to gather inspired by nature could reshape someone’s idea of how we gather and share intimate moments with each other, therefore inspiring their own way of how they think of the new normal. The new normal is different for everyone, but we all have an understanding and recollection of what normal was two years ago in the midst of the pandemic.
“I feel like in the future we can break cycles of how we usually go about situations like covid. If we spent more time and money or our energy into making spaces like this so people do not walk in fear then the world would probably be happier.” – Anonymous Informant #1, 2022
The installation came alive when placed in the heart of Linnaeus University. By placing the installation in this space, as well as another location it was apparent that the public gravitated towards the installation’s vibrant colors and uplifting atmosphere. An insight from this observation concluded that if society had spent less time creating fear and distance between people, and rather focused on our emotional and physical needs than we would have a safer and more pleasant new normal.
Would you like to see spaces like this as a social distancing method compared to the ones we have now (signs, tape, plastic screen barriers, etc.)?
“Yes! Warm, beautiful, colors, + life!”
When you think of the pandemic, we have created a new normal with social distancing, zoom, how we greet others, etc. Does this public space give hope for the future new normal we will have? If so, why? Why not?
“Yes. By trying to welcome people to a space, encouraging interaction by giving them something to talk about.”
Safe spaces are so much more than distancing physically. If we can mentally breathe and have intimacy between others based off our physical surroundings, then there is balance. The new normal can and should be this. Let us take the time to create new solutions to bring emotional joy and safe physical togetherness. This project is one of many solutions we as a society could implement into public space for the future new normal.
Acquistapace, Sophia, and Rosa Bertoli. “Design for Social Distancing: Innovative Solutions for Post/Pandemic Life.” Wallpaper*, Wallpaper*, 5 Mar. 2021, https://www.wallpaper.com/design/social-distancing-furniture-innovative-pandemic-design.
Bonnevier, Katarina, et al. “Circumnavigating and Crushing. .” Bang Magazine , 2013, pp. 1–10.
The EditorsFebruary, et al. “The Key to a Post-Pandemic ‘New Normal’? Solidarity.” America Magazine, 17 Feb. 2022, https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2022/02/17/covid-omicron-normal-masks-242404