Carey Young: Conflict Management

Performance Sun 26 Oct 2008 10.00AM-12.00PM Union Square South
Free admission
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At the south end of Union Square, historically the site of political demonstrations and the place of a farmer's market on other days, a small stall is set up in sight of the facades of high-rise luxury condominiums and multinational corporations. At the stall, the services of a professional mediator are made available, without charge, to anyone who desires them, for the duration of a day.

In mediation, an impartial third-party guides people who are involved in a dispute through a series of problem-solving steps to help them diffuse their conflict, communicate more effectively, and find their own solutions as an alternative to prolonged litigation or violence. Different from an arbitrator (or an elected politician) who makes a decision for the parties—similar to a judge—the mediator does not make decisions nor render an opinion of any kind.

The piece references larger questions of conflict. As mediation is inherently concerned with the attempt to create peace, this tiny site (at the feet of a bronze statue of George Washington) alludes to notions of a peaceful utopia, but it seems vulnerable, dwarfed by the size and architecture of the surrounding environment. The site offers poetic resonance: a tiny and temporary peace zone that will be dismantled all too soon.

Professional mediator
Elena Bayrock, Safe Horizons

This program has been made possible, in part, by a generous grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

This event is presented as part of the Vera List Center's program cycle on "Branding Democracy," and is presented in conjunction with the exhibition, OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding, on view from October 15, 2008 to February 1, 2009.