Oh Cambridge, Mass. You’re so full of quirky ideas, what with MIT and Harvard, not to mention a million more schools nearby.
First Cambridge instituted yoga parking tickets.
They’re designed by RISD professor and Cambridge artist in residence (they have one?) Daniel Peltz, who issued this public letter to the residents of Click and Clack’s fair city:
I’m writing to notify you of a series of new parking regulations going into effect shortly in Cambridge. When invited to propose a public art work for the City of Cambridge, by the Cambridge Arts Council, I proposed a residency with the Department of Traffic, Parking and Transportation [TPT]. I was drawn to parking, as a subject matter and site, when I was doing an artist residency in the southern Swedish town of Malmö, where a series of attacks on parking control officers had occurred. The parking department’s official response was a publicity campaign aimed at improving the image of the parking enforcement office. This struck me as an incomplete response. There was something being played out in our relationship to parking enforcement that deserved a deeper examination and I began walking with the parking officers. Something about this low-level confrontation with state authority – that is to say a confrontation with minimal real-world consequences – activates a disproportionately intense set of emotions and behaviors. It occurred to me that our encounters with parking enforcement, and the staff of the parking office, were serving a critical function for urban inhabitants, creating a safe space to work out a wide expressive range of responses to state authority. There are many reasons to be grateful for the opportunity a parking citation presents.
He’s also experimenting with “soft booting”, which are basically stuffed boots, instead of metal ones.
Another artist, Matthew Mazzotta (MIT alum, of course), recently installed a dog poop-powered streetlight in Cambridge. It’s installed in a dog park, and uses a methane digester to power the light. Just put the poo in a bag, put it into the device, and turn a crank, and your pooches will help power a gas lamp.