Media coverage of our G20 Morse Code Project misses the point

Usually, we spend our days helping clients reach their business goals online. But we also believe the Web can also be used to provoke intelligent, thoughtful dialog. Over the years, we’ve created a few grass-roots public art experiments for people to share their hopes and dreams.

It started when the city of Pittsburgh celebrated its 250 anniversary. In addition to remembering the city’s past, we thought it would be more interesting to look forward. Pittsburgh2050.com was created to give every individual a place to share their ideas about the city’s enormous potential – What could the city be like in the year 2050? At the beginning of the year, instead of sending an holiday greetings card just to our clients and friends, we launched www.2009hopes.com as a place for people to share their wishes for the new year.

Recently we conceptualized a new interesting project to empower ordinary citizens to send their thoughts to the G-20 leaders. Here is the project synopsis:

“On September 24-25, the G-20 Summit will take place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, where G-20 leaders, representing 80% of the world’s trade and two-thirds of the world population, will determine policies affecting our economic and financial futures.

To foster engagement despite the insularity of these talks, Osman Khan, an artist, and Elliance, an Internet Marketing Company, are collaborating to develop heyG20 as a forum that will allow concerned citizen’s of the world to voice their thoughts and opinions to the Leaders of the G20 Summit. The project is an interactive installation that will take place during the G-20 Summit in the windows of Elliance’s offices located directly across the river from the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

Interested participants may tweet their message to @heyG20 (http://twitter.com/heyG20), whereby their messages will be transformed to a multicolored morse code light show, illuminating not only the night sky but also the concerns of the world’s citizens.”

We’re pleased that this project received media coverage but feel the larger message was missed. It’s no accident that one of the outcomes of our wonderful art projects is natural buzz. I think the buzz starts because we live in a rather cynical world where people are genuinely interested in projects, which tend to have ‘goodness’ packed into them. Why? Because it’s refreshing — people enjoy the opportunity to share their hopes, desires and wishes without any strings attached.

It is redemption of our own souls, not buzz, that is the key motivation of our art projects. And that is the point that was missed in this article. Is the glass half full or half empty? The answer to that lies in the eye of the beholder.

Read the article on Post Gazette and let me know your take.