We’ve become terrible at talking to each other. You can be crammed on a bus, inches away from someone, and it is socially acceptable, socially preferable, to stare off into space or be zoned in on your smart phone trying to beat the next level of Candy Crush. When we don’t talk to each other, we rely on stereotypes to form our opinions of others. Yes stereotypes are based on truth and can be funny when we don thick-rimmed black glasses and suspenders to portray a nerd for Halloween. But, they become dangerous when we use them to profile whole groups of people because of the way they look or the clothes they wear. They lead to fear and hate. We need to stop this cycle. We need to talk to each other. To hear each other’s stories. We need an intervention.
People do want to talk to each other. They just don’t know how. But I know we can help them. And we can do it together. We can use creativity to build community. We can create shared spaces and experiences in public space to break down social barriers and catalyze connections between people and communities. Creativity, playfulness, and unexpected alterations to the urban environment interrupt people’s normal routine and open up the possibility for spontaneous interactions. These collisions are the necessary first step to any relationship.
They are the neighbor you’ve never met until you both walk out of your apartment for work at the same time one day. They are the lonely bachelor who drops a piece of fruit in the grocery store, only to find his hand colliding with that of a stranger who, when he looks up, is a beautiful woman. They are the dog in the park who runs up to you with the dog owner running just behind them, bashfully apologizing to you for their dog’s forwardness.
These interactions enhance our daily life and increase our openness and ability to build strong communities. We need this human interaction, this spontaneity, this playfulness — yet we often leave these things out of our daily lives to focus on comfort and security.
The League of Creative Interventionists is here to insert the creativity and unexpected back into our cities. The League is a worldwide network of people working to build community through creativity. We create shared spaces and experiences in public space that break down social barriers and catalyze connections between people and communities.
Each month we will get people together to carry out a creative intervention around a theme. We will also share our inspiration and the template for others to replicate the intervention or create their own intervention in their community.
The League is launching in San Francisco on February 12 with an event and group creative action around the theme of love. We will be creating an installation in public space where we will share the stories of our first love on postcard-sized stickers. Random passersbys will be able to enjoy these stories and participate by adding their own story. We will also place these stickers in random places to be discovered by unsuspecting strangers who will then be invited to add their story to the installation.
You can be a part of the League and help spread some love where you live. Host a meetup with some friends, download the sticker template here, share the story of your first love and find a vacant building or other good spot in public space to place the stickers. Or brainstorm a love intervention that you want to do and go do it! Share the process and outcome on social media with the hashtag #theleaugeofci and help spread the love. Remind people that love is powerful. Remind people that sharing intimate views of themselves with strangers is scary but fun. Help people talk to strangers, to meet new people. Ronald Reagan said “A lot of our troubles will disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.” Let’s start talking.
Learn more about the League of Creative Interventionists here and join us for a worldwide Google Hangout on February 20 at 10am PST to brainstorm a creative intervention for March.