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Sharon Daniel «Need_X_Change»
Sharon Daniel, «Need_X_Change», 1998
Screenshot | © Sharon Daniel

communication project in public space

 Sharon Daniel

The project, «Need_X_Change,» a collaboration between artist Sharon Daniel and Casa Segura, an HIV prevention clinic and Needle Exchange program, is a «distributed» work of public art—accessible on-line and situated in and across the Fruitvale district of Oakland, CA—that will stimulate dialogue between Casa Segura, its clients, and their community and increase awareness and understanding of the importance of needle exchange programs and the perspectives of those who use them. «Need_X_Change» is designed to help the staff and clients of Casa Segura attain social and political voice through dialogue with their local community and participation in the global information culture. The voices of the many individuals who both use and staff Casa Segura's needle exchange will be made audible to the public through a website and a series of billboards that will provide information about Casa Segura, its services, its staff and its clients, to the Fruitvale community. The website and public graphics are being created in collaboration with Casa Segura staff and clients. Each participant tells his or her own story in his or her own words. Inexpensive audio tape recorders and disposable cameras have been distributed to participants who are actively documenting their daily experience and taping their reflections on their own past histories. A small computer lab at Casa Segura's provides an on-line authoring environment where Daniel trains participating clients and staff in basic computer literacy and web publishing. Daniel works one-on-one with project participants who learn to design and publish web pages in order to put their own images, audio files and texts online. Most of the participants had never used a computer and, though they may have heard about the Internet, have never been online before.