Lava Mae + ZERO1 Launch “coming home” – An Immersive Augmented Reality + Audio Experience Connecting San Franciscans Across the Housing Divide

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Nonprofits partner with artists on pop-up installation to explore how leveraging art and technology can help challenge stereotypes and bridge the divide between the housed and unhoused in San Francisco.

San Francisco-based Lava Mae and ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network today announced the launch of coming home – a citywide pilot project that seeks to build a bridge of shared humanity between neighbors – housed and unhoused.

Created by contemporary artist John Craig Freeman, and sound artists Tania Ketenjian & Philip Wood (Sound Made Public), and produced by Lava Mae and ZERO1, coming home is an immersive augmented reality + audio experience designed to connect San Franciscans across the housing divide.

As San Francisco finds itself embodying both the best of human capacity and the worst, our unrelenting crisis around housing insecurity and the houseless has come to define us as sharply as our innovation and entrepreneurship. Most of us know little about our unhoused neighbors – those we see and the many more who are invisible – their stories, or what’s required to navigate these challenging circumstances. Most of us don’t realize that the majority of our houseless neighbors are unhoused due to circumstances beyond their control, such as eviction, and that homelessness is only a temporary experience for most.

coming home (http://www.cominghomesf.org) invites viewers to immerse themselves in a choice of eight life-size virtual scenes from across San Francisco neighborhoods, meet a full range of their houseless neighbors, and hear their stories – from life on the street to holding a job, as a student or an elder, and from the point of view of those who have successfully moved beyond what is, foremost, a temporary situation. coming home invites San Franciscans to experience how we are all more alike than we are different, and to share their reflections as part of the installation.

coming home runs from September 7 to September 16 at PROXY in Hayes Valley (432 Octavia Street). The installation is accessible 24/7 and is best viewed in the late afternoon and early evening.

Docents will be available from 6pm to 9pm on weekdays, and from 1pm to 9pm on weekends. coming home can be experienced using any late model iPhone, iPad, or Android and earbuds are recommended.

In addition to the PROXY installation, viewers can also explore coming home’s virtual scenes in unexpected locations across San Francisco beginning September 7 and continuing indefinitely. More information and a map of locations is available at cominghomesf.org.

“In San Francisco, there is a gaping disconnect between our housed and unhoused neighbors. Separated from each other by our radically differing circumstances, we're unaware of how alike we truly are and the humanity we share. With coming home we want to learn if we can bridge that gap through an immersive experience in a public space that combines art and new technology,” said Lava Mae's Curator of Arts Programming Amy Schoening. “This artistic experience was made possible by Lava Mae guests, who were willing to courageously share their stories to help build a bridge between all our neighbors.”

“Lava Mae’s work on the streets, with our guests and volunteers, has reinforced the critical importance of shifting our community's relationship with people experiencing homelessness – to see them as our fellow neighbors worthy of empathy and compassion,” said Lava Mae Founder and CEO Doniece Sandoval. “coming home was sparked by our belief in the power of art to transform perceptions and engage new audiences, and we look forward to hearing impressions and insights from the broader community.”

“ZERO1 believes in the power of art to build empathy. Our hope is that coming home will create connection between neighbors across the spectrum to share stories and better understand and support each other’s struggles and triumphs,” said ZERO1 President Barbara Goldstein.

coming home is made possible through funding from Lucia Choi-Dalton, Trevor TCR and Paul G. Allen Philanthropies.

About the Artists

John Craig Freeman is a public artist with over twenty-five years of experience using emergent technologies to produce large-scale public work at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. With his work, Freeman seeks to expand the notion of public by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place. Freeman is a founding member of the international artists collective Manifest.AR and has produced and exhibited work across America and around the world. He is currently a Professor of New Media Art at Emerson College in Boston.

Tania Ketenjian, Sound Made Public, has been a journalist, documentarian and sound artist for almost 20 years. For nearly a decade, she had a weekly radio show in San Francisco, New York and London interviewing creatives of all mediums and backgrounds and contributed extensively to the BBC, BBC World Service, PRI, NPR, ABC in Australia, RTE in Ireland and other networks around the world. She has also produced several long form documentaries for national radio, created commissioned pieces for international exhibitions and installations, and co-founded a radio magazine, The [Un]Observed, which collaborated with The Guardian to present the best audio from around the world.

Philip Wood, Sound Made Public is a designer, maker and cultural provocateur who brings brands to life through experiences across multiple mediums. His work for the likes of Cappellini, Cassina, Nicole Hollis, Levi’s and other clients extends from branding and visual identity, to space, furniture and object design, to both live events and recorded content. He is also the founder of CITIZEN:Citizen, whose products are included in the permanent collections of whichever MoMA you prefer – New York or San Francisco.

Amy Schoening, True Story, has been working collaboratively with a wide range of creative organizations, thinkers, and artists for over 25 years and is recognized for her unique ability to see and articulate the larger potential of an idea, then to inspire and shape its creative expression. Amy has led and advised iconic brands in retail including Levi’s, Gap Inc. and Nike, as well as emerging fashion brands around the world, and is currently engaged in creative collaborations with Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Bowery Poetry, and, in this role, with Lava Mae as Curator of Arts Programming.

Barbara Goldstein, ZERO1, is the Chair of this art and technology network which leverages technology, art, and science to create social change. She has participated in the development of ZERO1’s design fellowships, exhibitions, regional biennial festivals and their flagship program, American Arts Incubator (AAI), a cultural exchange artist residency which investigates digital tools as a means to address social issues, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Currently, Barbara is an independent consultant focusing on public art planning and creative placemaking.

About Lava Mae
Lava Mae is a San Francisco-based nonprofit innovating to transform lives in the world of homelessness and disrupt the way communities see and serve our unhoused neighbors around the globe. For more information, visit lavamae.org, and connect with the Lava Mae community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About ZERO1
ZERO1: the art and technology network leverages technology, art, and science to create social change. Over the past five years, ZERO1 has utilized community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation.

Contact: Deborah Schneider ~ deborah@lavamae.org / 415.637.3686

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Lava Mae
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