<Whereas> A Declaration of Place

<Whereas – A Declaration of Place> is a hyperlocal, cross-disciplinary investigation of place and community. Gathering human-centered information in a 600 square-yard zone in San Francisco’s Inner Mission that is undergoing rapid urban changes, the project resulted in an interactive installation at Southern Exposure Gallery, the initial locus of <Whereas> investigations. In an intentionally ‘analog’ presentation that maps the complex material in visceral layers of interlinked text and imagery, <Whereas> creates a non-linear spatial narrative to arrive at an embodied sense of place – ultimately the only way in which place becomes real to us.

<Whereas> is framed by the day-to-day realities of the people in this hyperlocal zone and its evolving history. An intergenerational group of residents and businesses in the project zone contributed statements about their relationships to the neighborhood. The statements were compiled into composite Declarations that reflect the multiple truths in the diverse neighborhood. Borrowing from the format of legal proclamations, the Declarations give weight to the collective sense of place expressed through the personal. The poster-size Declarations are accompanied by photographs of each Declarer’s cupped hands holding an artifact symbolic to them of the neighborhood. Secondary narratives are subtly interwoven into the installation, including maps of participants’ habitual movements through the project zone, research on the area’s history, and other visual material.

In this online documentation and extension of the project, we invite visitors to add their own stories about this neighborhood here in this ongoing narrative.

<Whereas> was developed by artist Rene Yung as a scalable model for hyperlocal investigations of place- and community-making, in her belief in the importance of the local amidst globalizing changes. <Whereas> was produced in collaboration with StoryLab. Inquiries about developing <Whereas> projects for other hyperlocal communities are welcome here.


StoryLab is an experimental incubator developed by artist Rene Yung for cross-disciplinary projects that explore innovative ways to engage story as a non-linear tool for mining and mapping deeper social and cultural content in place- and community-making.

<Whereas> StoryLab includes: Michelle Brennan, Joel Chaidez, Julie Conquest, Victoria Heilweil, Boramy Khloth, Chelsea Lee, and Claudia Wheeler-Rappe.

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