Home » Safety in public spaces explored within Ling Tan’s SUPERPOWER! artistic project in Cluj-Napoca

In June this year Cluj Cultural Centre hosted Ling Tan’s artistic residency SUPERPOWER! in the frame of the Art & Well-being project. SUPERPOWER! was one of the artworks selected through the Art & Well-being open call for projects on the relation between art and well-being and it’s a participatory project that allows people to make sense of their complex interaction with the city, exploring the collective empathy and impact of the built environment on the well-being of the city’s inhabitants through their innate subjective perception.

Given the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was adapted and took the form of an online residency which was concluded with two online workshops on the 2nd-3rd and 16th-17th of June. Participants were selected by the artist through an open call aimed at students from Cluj-Napoca who are interested in making sense of their complex interaction with the campus space and explore, as a group, the impact of the environment on their well-being. Ling Tan worked with two groups of students who were instructed in using the mobile data collection website that allowed them to record observations and responses in different places using touch and hand gestures designed by themselves. After the theoretical part of the workshops, all participants went and physically explored the campus area, recording data and observations according to the main topic of interest they all agreed upon. On the second day of each workshop, everyone got to share their personal experience of the walk with the group and look at the data collected, while discussing the meaning of the recorded data.

The themes explored by the two groups were Covid-19 safety in public spaces and students’ safety around campus. During their walks around campus the students gathered personal impressions and data that will be analyzed by the artist and presented in a report regarding the two groups’ perception and feelings toward the themes they explored. A link to the report will be provided in the following weeks.

About the artist:

Ling Tan is an artist, maker, and coder working within the field of social engagement, technology, citizen participation and politics. Originally trained as an architect, her work explores citizens’ interaction with the built environment and our collective agency and responsibility in tackling complex issues surrounding our cities. Her work is exhibited internationally in places such as Centre Pompidou (France), Victoria and Albert Museum (UK)  Barbican (UK), and Wits Art Museum (South Africa).


SUPERPOWER! is an initiative developed by Ling Tan that explores our personal agency and responsibility as a citizen and as an individual in our complex interactions with our cities through our subjective perception using digital tools. Through working with communities in different cities, she developed a set of toolkits consisting of wearable technology, a mobile web platform and a data dashboard that enables a community to make sense of self-determined issues and collect data about their city using their subjective perception in the form of body gestures. Past projects range from air quality, perception of safety in public space, wheelchair accessibility, female public safety, cultural diversity, children’s well-being, to womxn representation