Waiting is generally a passive experience. We are not in control—we are asked to follow specific formalities and procedures as we agonize over the time spent or wasted. We obsess on whose turn is next. In the medical waiting room this sense of powerlessness can be compounded by anxiety over the implications of examination and treatment.
The Drop-In/Pop-Up Waiting Room Project turns this dynamic upside down. This mobile art project seeks to exchange ideas and explore the complexities, incongruities, and possibilities of public healthcare policies, access, medical research, and public opinion. The core question is, What are you waiting for?
The project acts as a bridge connecting two narrative threads: what do we expect from healthcare, and what do providers and policy makers bring to the table. The pop-up waiting room acts as a commons of shared ideas, where deep emotions, personal concerns, and experiences are expressed, recorded, collected, and represented. It is a collaboration with the medical community and the public, and it is the participants who drive the content.
The conceptual and literal framework for this interaction is a pop-up waiting room comprising several conventional chairs, soft sculpture slip covers (Social Skins), a "talking table," and an interactive kiosk. These different components evoke different social states of waiting, give voice to the healthcare profession, and enable public participation.
The DropIN/PopUP Waiting Room Project is made possible thanks to support from the SMA Friends of the Art Museum, the SMA Andrew W. Mellon Department of Academic Programs, and Mark and Lauren Booth.