Group install interactive art project along New River Walk

New River Walk path

A Stay Sane, Feel Connected sign along the New River Walk. - Credit: Stay Sane, Feel Connected

A group of friends has installed an interactive art project along an Islington waterway to connect people with their environment and with each other without breaking social distancing rules.

Five people took about 48 hours over the weekend of February 19 to position ten small upcycled-wooden signs along New River Walk displaying questions, challenges and small illustrations designed to invoke deeper thoughts in pedestrians strolling along the waterway

They include musings such as "How would you greet this tree?" and "Can you spot a pigeon?".

At the end of the route there is a QR code, which walkers are encouraged to use to submit their final thoughts or feelings in the form of a picture or some words. In return, they will receive an anonymous response someone else has submitted. 

The project is called Stay Sane, Feel Connected. 

A member of the group, Oleg Gergel, 29, told the Gazette: "We hope that it would create curiosity in people, and make them think or feel certain things.

"If they submit something, they will get something that was submitted by someone before them, in exchange. You can submit anything.”

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He said they chose New River Walk, which runs between Canonbury Grove and St Paul's Road, because there is just one route and the installation can be spaced along the path.  

The group also includes Iris Colomb, Gaïa Lamiot, Maribeth Rauh and Paulo Ricca, who have a variety of jobs in the arts and sciences.

They have approached Islington Council to open a discussion about the art project. 

Stay Sane, Feel Connected project released a statement: "We decided to take over a physical location to bring people to reconnect with their environment, the people surrounding them, and themselves."

It continued: "These would enhance people’s awareness of the space around them, the other passers-by, their own state of mind, and the experience of the walk itself."

Oleg, who lives in Hackney, said they would see how successful this project becomes before they consider installations in other areas.

Islington Council has been approached for comment.