In collaboration with Variable Projects and VIF Studio, Bending the Rules is a design competition entry for the Field Constructs art installation in Austin, TX. Our proposal aimed to engage critical thinking about how Austin’s urban evolution addresses the many factors that contribute to Austin as a place—including not only the young, the hip, and the weird, but also the historic neighborhoods, the under-represented communities, and the natural hill-country landscape.
Rules of access largely define one’s experience of both urban and natural environments in Austin, and therefore certain Austin experiences are made inaccessible. The paper wristband is an artifact of consumerism that celebrates rules of pop culture, symbolizing inclusion and ease of access for a specific population and, as a result, the exclusion and denial of access to others.
Our proposal re-appropriates this symbol as an element that, rather than defining limiting rules of access, creates spatial possibility. It engages any viewer as participant, creating new visual and physical connections to one’s context, and thus offers the opportunity for personal interpretations of the shifting forces shaping Austin.