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This art project will use a 7-story building as a sounding board for community voices

Running from Aug. 12 through 15, the civic engagement project led by Drexel University professor Frank Lee will project tweets about critical social issues onto a building at 33rd and Market.

Civic Dialog tweets projected onto Drexel's Nesbitt Hall. (Courtesy image)

By using a moderated Twitter thread and the facade of a seven-story building, visual project Civil Dialog aims to convey the insights and thoughts of community members in a very public way.

Drexel University professor Frank Lee will lead a team of students and technologists to project select tweets onto Drexel’s Nesbitt Hall at 33rd and Market streets.

Tweets will come from a moderated thread via the Civil Dialog Twitter account, which is operated by the Lee’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio team. The team will tweet discussion questions and choose which answers will be projected onto Nesbitt Hall.

Lee sees this project, which is funded by the Knight Foundation, as an opportunity for people to vocalize their feeling on delicate subjects during the pandemic.

“We really want this to be a chance for people to express thoughts and feelings that have been weighing on them during the pandemic,” he told Drexel Now. “It’s important that we all keep talking about these issues in a civil fashion.”

Students from Pennoni Honors College will provide a wide range of topics including criminal justice reform and sexism in politics for the Twitter thread.

Livestreams of the Twitter thread and building projections will be available on Twitch and Periscope to make the discussion more accessible.

The project reminds of Lee’s previous large-scale public work such as the 119,600-square-foot Tetris game he projected onto the Cira Centre during Philly Tech Week 2014.

Civil Dialog will run over four nights from Aug. 12 through 15 from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Drexel University

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