Karrinyup: interactive art piece to teach empathy

Hopes and dreams... artist Alex Desebrock. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d471139
Hopes and dreams... artist Alex Desebrock. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d471139

ARTIST Alex Desebrock will raise questions about privacy and technology in an interactive project coming to Karrinyup.

In its fifth run in Australia, Dear Hope Street invites children to find a house on a Hope Street on Google Street View anywhere in the world and write a postcard to the occupants with a drawing of their house.

All the cards are photographed and posted on the website, where recipients can reply online.

Ms Desebrock said the project prompted responses from around the globe and helped children empathise with others.

“We’ve had lots of people describe their house and what it’s like to live where they live,” she said.

“There was a particularly beautiful example where a dad wrote to us and he had just moved to Hope Street in Canberra with his two boys and their mother had recently died from cancer.

“They discovered this postcard at their new home on Hope Street and he said it was very serendipitous for them;it helped them meet others on the street.”

Ms Desebrock said that her workshops aimed to empower children to “think big”.

“I’m interested in art slipping into the everyday, whether that is a sound or a postcard,” she said.

“Dealing with people who aren’t necessarily seeking out art, I think art can be a circuit breaker to their day and allow them to think bigger things.”

In an age of technology, Ms Desebrock said many children had never experienced sending a postcard before.

“I think a lot of the kids are a bit boggled by it; they are challenged by the it and it’s not until they get the response that things hit home,” she said.

“The growth of technology (like Google Street View) really affects our privacy, but it can also show us amazing things about how people live around the world.

“There are educational things in it but they are not really explicit; it is interwoven into the work.”

Suitable for children aged 7 – 11
WHEN: Monday July 10 – Friday July 14
WHERE: Karrinyup Shopping Centre (Food Court entrance)

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