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Sorry, this space is taken

Posted by Christopher Shea  March 4, 2009 12:22 PM

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The Cones Project in action

The Cambridge-based artist Peggy Nelson has come up with a new "urban intervention" that plays off the Boston tradition of saving parking spaces after snowstorms, and she invites her fellow citizens to join in. While Southie residents are famous for using anything at hand to reserve the spots they've shoveled (or even haven't shoveled), Nelson's Cones Project focuses on that icon of space-saving: the orange traffic cone.

By law, all space-savers must be removed from the street 48 hours after a snow emergency ends. On Flickr.com, the photo-sharing site, Nelson has posted shots of a traffic cone "illegally" reserving all sorts of physical spaces. These include: a bar stool, a seat on the subway, a spot in Harvard Stadium, a cushion on a living-room couch, and -- useful, indeed -- a ladies'-room stall. At this writing there were 14 photographs, mostly in the Cambridge area.

Home base for the venture is theconesproject.com, but that page just directs you to a Flickr map showing where the unconventional space-savings have taken place so far. You can also go directly to flickr.com/map and type "conesproject" into the "search for" field. (NB: not the "find a place" field at the top of the screen.)

To join the intervention, take your own cone photo, upload it to Flickr, and add the tag "conesproject" (one word). Then watch to see just how viral this space-saving campaign gets.*

Sorry -- taken!
Yep, taken!

*For Flickr newbies: Flickr requires that you upload a certain number of photos -- five, Nelson tells me -- before deeming you "safe" enough that your images can be sent out to the wider world. Also, you have to unclick the box that keeps your photos private. In short: Read the directions.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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5 comments so far...
  1. I love many of these but I think to have the real effect of the whole space-saving cone, there would have to be more people. Like, she walks into a full bar and the only seat available is taken with a cone. D'oh! That's really what the space savers mean. That's why the bathroom one works, for example. Otherwise, it's just sometimes a lady with a traffic cone. But cool idea.

    Posted by orange cone March 4, 09 01:10 PM
  1. Orange, that just means the ball -- or the cone -- is in your court. Show us how it's done.

    Posted by Chris Shea March 4, 09 01:30 PM
  1. I think it's even MORE funny if the place is empty and she saves with a cone - in my neighborhood people put cones out EVEN IF there are TONS of parking spaces!!!!

    Posted by Sarah March 4, 09 03:08 PM
  1. i agree! in fact, when the site is empty of other people, the cone begins to take on multiple meanings....and the images become tragi-comic. the cone becomes stand-in for all that one is waiting for, longing for, hoping to show up. Conversely it evokes potential meaning of protecting oneself *from* interaction -- an object signifying 'keep out' , seat next to you is 'taken', leave me alone!

    Posted by et March 6, 09 01:32 PM
  1. Very cool, Ms. Nelson! We need to see more of these cones!

    Posted by Carla, Cambridge MA April 12, 09 04:38 PM
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