Seoul's City Hall Offers Citizens A Big Ear To Complain To

Literally: An eight-foot sculpture outside the building records complaints, which are then played over speakers installed in the offices of the citizens' affairs bureau. Useful suggestions are stored, while the rest become mood music.

What's the Latest Development?


This past spring, Seoul mayor Park Won-soon had a sculpture installed outside of the city hall resembling a stylized ear trumpet that invites residents to walk up to the open end and air short grievances. However, the complaints don't just stay there: The sculpture records and then plays the messages over speakers installed in the citizens' affairs bureau, which is located in the city hall basement. If that's not enough, motion sensors track how long office workers stand and listen to the messages. Those messages that are useful and receive sustained attention get saved; the others are transformed into mood music.

What's the Big Idea?

The sculpture is the brainchild of a public art organization called Lifethings, which says it works as a "digital ecosystem in which these messages are passed on to future generations or compost." It also represents the fulfillment of Mayor Park's pledge to listen to Seoul's citizens. At least one other city is getting a similar interactive exhibit: The group is currently working on an "idea tree" that will record messages spoken by visitors to San Jose's new convention center.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Atlantic Cities

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
popular

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less