Oslo Architecture Triennale, Copenhagen and Oslo, 2016
Commissioned by Oslo Architecture Triennale and After Belonging Agency
For those who seek a couch for cuddling,
for those with a homesick thirst to quench,
for those who need an overhang for huddling,
for those who’d like to share a bench...
A prototype-as-provocation, Cher responds to a call for architectural interventions into the sharing economy in Copenhagen. Here app-making is a means of critique, community building, and advocacy. Cher accelerates and subverts the logic of platforms like Airbnb, allowing its users to rent objects by the minute—be they in the home or public space—and engages the ever-blurrier boundaries between public and private space and the public and private sector in start-up sound bites.
Try Cher now: http://cher.city
Left: Cher custom designed greenscreen photo-booth and app at Olso Architecture Triennale; right: screenshot of the Cher app.
Cher is a digital platform that allows users to offer and reserve objects by the minute, whether in the home or public space. Community-driven and crowd-sourced, Cher identifies untapped opportunities within sharing-economy social platforms and the communities that comprise dynamic urban environments.
A kind of “cup of sugar” for the digital age, Cher connects city-dwellers to one another through the listing and sharing of domestic objects and local landmarks. Through workshops, walking tours, and interviews, the platform-building process amasses a rich taxonomy of a city’s object landscape and instigates conversations around social exchange and material culture. Initially developed for Copenhagen—a place with a storied culture of coziness and a population fluent in design— Cher has developed into a global platform after its launch at the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, responding to the quirks, specificities, and needs of different urban populations.
Sample listings on Cher from Copenhagen.
Our hyper-mobile, fast-paced world has eroded feelings of belonging and amplified individualism. Although at times the home feels no bigger than a suitcase, we still need—we covet—things. We’re ever curious, but often strangers to cities—including our own. By creating an object-based social network, Cher addresses these conditions and fosters a new, highly personal, connective tissue for the city.
Moreover, Cher is a convenient tool for domestic needs across a demographic range. Smart phones are ubiquitous, and applications are no longer novel. From teens to seniors, recent migrants to long-time residents, we use our phones to navigate, learn, and connect. With Cher, objects become the touchstone of these functions, pooling material and social resources in the spirit of communitas. Need a book in a bind? Step into your neighbor’s library. Want a stoop to lunch on? Find the sunniest on Cher. Caught in the rain? Source the nearest drier.
Adverts from Cher marketing campaign
Responding to home sharing platforms such as Airbnb, Cher accelerates their logic while scaling down their scope. Users can list either interior objects for use by the minute or nominate sites in public space for others to reserve. Through captioning and commenting, Cher’s users are able to provide personal anecdotes or knowledge about each item, generating a subjective urban landscape. Weaving object-oriented narratives, Cher tells the story of each city and its citizens through things, all the while advocating for public space. Cher also encourages negotiation offline: Taking a cue from straightforward listing platforms like craigslist, Cherers and Cherees communicate their terms and expectations beyond the app. Objects are listed simply, and any exchange occurring around them— be it a monetary transaction or a bartering of goods or services—is open ended and optional.
How to Cher tutorial video.
Cher video series: You are what you cher (#1).
Cher video series: You are what you cher (#2).
Cher video series: Just Like Cher. Produced by Atlant.
Cher video series: 30/30 Nørrebro. Produced by Atlant.
Cher video series: 30/30 with Anna Kubelik.