City's Parking Tickets Tell Drivers To Strike Yoga Pose

David Greene talks to Lillian Hsu, of the Cambridge Arts Council about parking tickets in Cambridge, Mass., illustrated with a series of yoga poses.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DAVID GREENE, host:

Finally this hour, if you get a parking ticket in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city has a message for you: Inhale, exhale, strike a pose - a yoga pose, that is. On the envelope of your parking violation are drawings of different yoga positions. This is all part of a new approach to parking enforcement.

All this is brought to you by the Cambridge Arts Council. And we're joined by Lillian Hsu from the Cambridge Arts Council. Lillian, thank you for being here.

Ms. LILLIAN HSU (Cambridge Arts Council): Happy to be here, thank you.

GREENE: I guess the first question everyone wants to know as they've read about this is - why?

Ms. HSU: Well, it's a work of art. I guess that's an appropriate question when everyone encounters a work of art. It's why usually people are asking in terms of what is the function.

And as a lot of art does, it hopefully changes our perception, and I think that this is a piece that has, there's four different components to it that all together invite us to change our perceptive of this fairly complicated and rich world of the Traffic and Parking Department and all of its staff and its different roles and the public.

No one likes to get a ticket. No one likes to get the car towed. No one likes the fact that you have to, you know, that there's only 15 minutes parking when you really want to sit there for two hours.

I mean, you know, these are sort of things, regulations that all of us kind of bump up against in daily life, that people have a notion of this relationship between the people who get the ticket and the person giving the ticket as one that has not very good feeling about it, you know.

GREENE: So let me make sure I understand this. If I get a parking ticket now in Cambridge and see this artwork, what do you want me to do differently than perhaps I used to do?

Ms. HSU: Well, you used to probably just take the ticket and either, you know, go to the window and pay it or mail it in, in the envelope.

GREENE: Not happily, no matter what I did.

Ms. HSU: Right. And now when you see it, you see the envelope, and maybe you notice theres something quite different, and it's a juxtaposition of things that aren't normally put together.

You would read it, you'd look at it. It would make you wonder, and maybe it just shifts that kind of habitual kind of response that you might get coming to your car and seeing that there's a ticket on your window.

GREENE: Take a breath before I crack my car window with my fist, in other words.

Ms. HUSE: Right.

GREENE: Well, I did want to ask about one of the reactions I caught was in a local paper in Boston. It was from a cop in a neighboring city who found this all kind of funny and said, no, we are not planning to soften our approach to law enforcement.

Ms. HSU: Yeah, I think (unintelligible), yeah.

GREENE: Are you seeing some of those reactions?

Ms. HSU: Oh, that's just one of the ranges of reactions. Some people are going to be irate. Some people are going to be really confused. You know, there's the whole gamut, and we're very used to these kinds of ranges of responses to public artwork that really kind of asks these questions.

GREENE: Next time I get a boot on my car, I guess I will, I promise I will try to relax. Lillian, I don't do much yoga, but I guess the thing I should say here is namaste.

Ms. HSU: Thank you very much.

GREENE: Thank you, Lillian. That's Lillian Hsu. She's the director of public art at the Cambridge Arts Council.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: