Gum Dot is Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo’s submission to Masterpieces of Everyday New York: Objects as Story exhibited in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design. Gum Dot offers to actively highlight something so common and overlooked that emerges from the everyday city-dwellers behaviors. Those spots are a characteristic feature of our sidewalks, Gum Dots exposes the reality of what some believe to be a phenomenon.

Here’s more about the project:

“When was the last time you tried to truly understand the urban density in which we are immersed in New York City? Gum dots are an invitation to such a reflection as, realizing that most of those black dots on sidewalks are remnants of spit-out gum, is an exercise in thinking through density, time, history, and behavior in the city. The very idea that all of those dots are chewed up gum is such a controversial thought, that many non-believers dismiss it as urban legend.

How many people must have eaten how much gum to create that number of dots? How many feet must have stomped over a piece of gum to make them so flat and truly integrated into the sidewalk? How many years must have that sidewalk experienced to have that many gum dots on it? If all of that gum retained their original shape, size and volume, how much space in the city would they occupy? What does this phenomenon say about our culture, that so many people are chewing and spitting out their gum in public, not knowing and understanding that what they think of as debris will eventually be integral to the city’s scape?

The gum dot just outside the window was created for this exhibition. It is now in the public domain and will experience what any other dot may. It can be modified, copied, appropriated, or stolen. It will get trampled on, darkened, moved, and maybe even removed.”

She prompts the viewer to take part with these action steps:

To acquire the object:
1. Chew on any kind of gum
2. Walk outside and spit it onto the sidewalk
3. Wait for someone to step on it. Then someone else, then hundreds of people
4. Return in a few months to find your NYC gum dot

The artist wishes to thank Mehdi Salehi for the video’s production & editing.

Visit her website to view more work.

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