Partners of Place (PoP): Unbounded Protests

One of six installations for the digital exhibition by winners of the 2024 League Prize.

The city is a stage for protests. Civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s suffrage, anti-war, environmental protection, and political rallies, to name a few. All contextualize the meaning of protest – however, it would be an oversight to suggest that all protests are organized similarly. The anatomy of each call to action is uniquely different, just like each human being on this planet. What we can do is identify the general makeup of a protest.

There is a stage, a platform for taking a stance. There is the governing party, representing the power of authority. There is the protestor, the agitated collective. There is the anti-protestor, the protest subduer. There is the bystander, the complacent party either unaware or disconnected. These key players make up the scene for protest.

Each key player has an arsenal of gear, a toolkit to take action. The authority power has its social platform and governing regulations. The protestor relies on companionship and spatial occupancy. The anti-protestor, often aiding the authority, uses tactical gear and strategic measures, frequently involving militarization. The bystander maintains anonymity, using the status quo as a veil to shroud reality.

Unbounded Protests explores the spatial contexts of protests, emphasizing the importance of social advocacy and accessibility. A series of protest toolkits designed for protestors aims to support the following:

  • Visibly showing collective unrest
  • Amplifying voices through spatial occupancy
  • Softening the spatial divide for moments of mediation
  • Informing the masses through accessible dialogue
  • Spotlighting aggressors during acts of violence

Protestors often bear the brunt of the very issues they challenge: aggression, violence, and bigotry. History shows that protestors frequently risk their bodies for the cause, meeting force from anti-protestors. Can we reimagine spatial occupancy and representation of protests to create safety through visibility, accessibility, and room for mediation? The protest toolkits do not redefine the modes of protest but instead support them.

Video Credits
Creative Direction and Animation: Partners of Place
Narration: Milan Jordan
Feature Poems:
I Sing the Body Electric by Walt Whitman
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
No Man is an Island by John Donne
Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Quilt March – “I Engirth Them”

A protest consists of individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds and narratives. Some live each day impacted by the injustices they are fighting, some are in support of friends and family, while others are in support of an ethical greater good. It’s challenging to represent the individuals while simultaneously situating themselves in the collective. Power is in revealing the diversity of the protest.

Interconnected – “Filament, Filament, Filament”

Alone we are a single node, together, linked, we form a bond. Occupying space to reclaim, protect, and reimagine how a boundary is defined requires peripheral space. Interconnected weaves a tapestry of people to reorganize space. Linked together with fabric, instant acts of linkage take place. The fabric is not easily broken, symbolizing the unbreakable perseverance of protest.

Bubble Buffer – “Set Wall Between Us”

Barriers to protests often take the form of gates, fencing, and barricades, among other bounds. These are heavy, intrusive, and symbolic of resistance and unwillingness to change. However, a temporary remapping of space using softer forms offers the opportunity to shift and adapt, enabling negotiation and transformation of the space.

Elevated Voices – “A Part of The Main”

Taking collective action amplifies the need for change. A march, a gathering, an occupation, creates a rallying cry that you are not alone in your grievances. Often premeditated, protests garner the support of individuals to create a collective aim to amplify the need for change, elevating the voices of friends, family, and loved ones lost, and fighting for loved ones still here.

Spiral Chant – “Surrounded Yet Detached”

The voices of the unheard must be amplified in a public way. There must be a pause in the regularity of the everyday. Routine is complacency. Protestors circumnavigate into the spirals, their footsteps echoing. Vocalized chants emerge from the spirals, calling for action. Bystanders, their routines disrupted, find pause, they see the silhouettes of moving bodies within, they hear the chants, they feel the movement, a shock value reverberates through the space.

UnaVOIDable – “Tapestry of Resistance and Hope”

Collective thought unifies the vision of a movement, though aligning values can be difficult, knowing each individual perceives challenges differently. However, when alignment occurs, it speaks volumes, and a collective stance makes the need for change visible. In agreement with the governing force, protesters utilize the tapestry of the built environment to create a stage where unified voices can be heard and seen.


Project credits: Rayshad Dorsey, Joseph James, Diego Zubizarreta Otero, Julian Owens, Michael Urueta
AI Imagery produced using Microsoft Copilot and Midjourney.