Pathways to Freedom

Submitted by Julia Vogl

30+

Client: Jewish Arts Collaborative

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $60,000

Project Team

Client

Laura Mandel

Jewish Arts Collborative

Artist

Julia Vogl

Overview

Inspired by the Jewish holiday of Passover, this public artwork engaged 1,800 individuals across 27 locations in the Greater Boston area ( from City Hall to Conservatory Lab School in Dorchester to the Peabody Essex Museum), asking them to reflect and share their views on freedom and immigration. Every circle in the artwork represents an individuals answers to 4 questions. The work is a 6,000 ft vinyl floor mural situated at the base of Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument in Boston Common for the duration of two weeks.

Goals

Pathways to Freedom aimed to include as many diverse communities that make up Boston into a dialogue and activity around immigration and freedom. The work was comprised of two phases- engagement with community- and individuals making pins that reflected their views, and then integrating each person's responses into a 6,000 ft floor mural. Leaning on Jewish symbolism and ritual from the Passover Exodus story- the artwork was very much an interpretation of making that narrative accessible to all today and very much informed the overall design. Sited at the Civil War monument which is a testament to anti- slavery and pursuit for freedom seemed fitting. The removal of a circle in circle packing( the technical term for the layout of the pattern) revealing a 6 pointed star( or a Star of David in Jewish tradition) in the design is a nice example of how everything was considered.

Process

I created a portable cart that journeyed to 27 different sites across the Greater Boston Area, inviting the communities at these sites to share though a pin making activity their views on freedom and immigration. From City Hall to the Mattahunt Community Center, I met with 1800 individuals. Amount them we got 100 to record their immigration story and what freedom or lack of freedom means to them. 44 of these recordings were integrated into the final installation- and can be found online now. All 1800 who made a pin got to keep it and wear it as a souvenir of their participation. They were then invited to the Boston Common to find an enlarged version of it on the ground in a floor mural- showcasing them in context with the thousand others. The viewer became the data analyser getting to reflect their larger community and questions their own views on the subjects.

Additional Information

This project brought together a very diverse range of people from over 234 zip codes and gave power to those not often heard. To listen to the audio collected from participants please visit: https://jartsboston.wixsite.com/pathwaysaudio