Update: Public Isolation Project

PIP finally begins to deepen the discussion.

By Anne Adams November 26, 2010

Guess what? This window goes both ways.

Tuesday brought an interesting development: for the first time in her stay, Cristin Norine, the Public Isolation Project’s glassed-in guinea-pig, finally commented on the plight of the homeless, which plays out daily and conspicuously in the Lower Burnside neighborhood. Her observations on the PIP Blog are as relevant as they are late-breaking: “It was one of the few times I have watched what happens outside of these windows,” she writes. “Most of the time I try to ignore what’s going on out there so that I don’t notice that I am being watch. I think I will change that behavior the rest of the time I am in here.”

Well, now we’re talking. 23 days in, Norine has begun to adjust her depth of field, focusing beyond her cheerleaders, on a bigger and more ethically challenging world. Perhaps Culturephile’s question last week about “attraction” and “preference” was worded too vaguely. Some of the thoughts that prompted that question were, more frankly, “How do you feel about being watched by people with no home, no job, or far fewer teeth than you have? Do you welcome their stares? Do you think they welcome your presence on Lower Burnside? How does that parallel the online experience, of having a public profile and being viewed by people whom you can’t personally relate to?”

Anyway, the next day, she delves in another direction, addressing some of the gender issues that the project inherently raises: “The fact that I am a woman living in a very public way I can’t deny that it’s a very voyeuristic experience for those watching. In some cases though, I think people watching are more uncomfortable then I am.”

Culturephile thanks Cristin for beginning to open up and address the questions that many are privately asking. A blog which had been droningly self-affirming, has finally begun to fulfill its potential as a forum for ethical and philosophical exploration. The next step? Hopefully, a continued willingness to tackle the harder issues, and an honest attempt to see herself as others see her. She’s got three days. We’ll be watching—because we can.

The Public Isolation Project will be active for the rest of the month of November. For a more comprehensive list of events, visit PoMo’s Arts & Entertainment Calendar!

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