Last weekend, we came across artist Linda Hesh dismantling her For and Against Benches at 14th and Q Streets. She was nice enough to let us snap the photo of her above and give us more info on her inspiration and the public reaction to her benches (see below the jump). In a city obsessed with politics, we love that these benches stimulate thinking (not always associated with politics!) and are good-looking design. Are you For or Against? Survey and more on the benches directly from Linda below the jump...
Linda uses the words "for" and "against" because of the partisanship that is rampant in the U.S. She likes that each word alone doesn't have any meaning and that viewers must put "for" or "against" into context by adding their own statement. Choosing to sit on one bench is a way to physically announce a viewpoint.
Through taking the benches to different public locations around DC, Linda's work changed because of participant interaction. Linda has been amazed at how many people participate and notes that about half the people who walk by the benches will write something down that they are for or against. About half the people who write something down also agree to be photographed on a bench.
As its DC, many participants write down a political candidate for what they are for or against; however, most write down a cause or social problem. Linda states that although the idea was originally inspired by U.S. political partisanship, the benches seem "to inspire the idea that we can work together to solve the issues of our time."
What a lovely idea. Thanks, Linda!
Learn more about Linda Hesh's For and Against benches on her website.