Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Power of Memories -- A Guest Post about the "our nyc journeys" Project

Hi there!

My name is Chang Lee and just like Paul, I have the same passion for the world of museums and specifically exhibition and experience design. Today, I would like to talk about the power of memories to connect a very diverse audience.

To do so, I will share the most recent project of 'by xx collective', the team which I have the luck to lead. Our NYC-based, experimental design collective combines experimental language and strategic tools to create collective experiences for the audience.

"Our nyc journeys"(, is an online platform where New Yorkers from all walks of life connect by documenting their location-specific memories. It is dedicated to the people who were once new to the City and moved in from another place, either within or outside of the US.

It all started in the pro-COVID days when we joined the competition of LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council). Last March, it was announced that we had won the grant in Creative Engagement to build what was, in the beginning, a physical installation designed to spark social interaction. As COVID cases were rising, we worked strategically to accelerate our design and create something that was appropriate for the times. The project moved to the virtual world but the goal remains. 

Our mission is to provide a chance for New Yorkers to reflect upon the adventurous journey that the city gave them and to connect with each other. Our vision is to create an inclusive community that bonds over the emotions that the city has evoked in them. In such an overwhelming environment, it is as crucial, as it is necessary, for one to recognize that they’re not alone. 

A collection of memories can perfectly showcase how the diverse NYC population shares similar experiences. By turning the city map into a collage of interwoven individual journeys, our participants see beyond the elements that set them apart. This subjective map creates an alternative urban geography, revealing the emotional dimension of a human city. Our nyc journeys highlights New York City as a unifier that brings together a disconnected audience.

The concept is based on the theory of culture shock; a series of emotions that newcomers often experience. Culture shock defines the 4 stages that a person goes through when adjusting to a new environment. We turned the culture shock stages into NYC-themed chapters. Our 4+ chapters compose a person’s NYC journey and our participants are invited to match their memories to a chapter and a NYC location.

As social distancing is required, if not imposed, people are trying to find new ways to stay connected with each other. "By xx" has been working on creating an antidote to the social isolation that many may have experienced. Our nyc journeys has the power to connect New Yorkers who walk the same streets and share similar day-to-day adventures. Our future members stand next to each other at traffic lights, in the same Uber, or in the same Trader Joe's checkout line without realizing how much they have in common. Through our website, we want to turn NYC into a place where they feel like they belong.

I am very excited for the opportunity to share this project on ExhibiTricks! I encourage you to check out the our nyc journeys website, share your memories, and connect with other New Yorkers - just like you! 

Chang Lee is an architect and an experience designer. He studied in the Exhibition and Experience Design Master’s Degree program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Currently, Chang works for Gallagher & Associates, an interdisciplinary design studio. 

Chang has a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture from Yonsei University in Seoul. He worked in the Japanese architectural studios of Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito, contributing to various projects with commitment and creativity. Chang also worked as a space designer in the Branding Department of Hyundai Card Company, where he discovered the power of spatial storytelling, something that led him to New York to enrich his knowledge of experience design.

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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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