“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...There’s Cher.”

Cher is a digital platform—a prototype-as-provocation, allowing visitors and users to reserve or rent objects by the minute—produced through community-driven methods of research, focused on identifying untapped opportunities and existing controversies within sharing-economy social platforms for changing urban environments.

Responding to home-sharing and short-term rental apps, Cher foregrounds their broader social and economic consequences: the marketed reinterpretation of one’s personal belongings, incrementalized subdivisions of time, and the delicate but unearned trust between strangers. Following these trends, Cher exploits their logics: a frictional platform unapologetically connecting individuals through things and the scripted language of exchange. Just as private owners advertise their objects for rent on the platform, a city’s public objects are advertised for “reservation” to others by its citizens. Weaving interior and exterior space through the isolation of objects, this platform is a mechanism to advocate for local public space, learn about a city and its constituencies, and retool interior architecture for social encounters at a humble scale.


Project Updates

  • NOVEMBER 2016 Leah and Jaffer host a roundtable discussion at the Danish Architecture Center in Copenhagen to close out the project and reflect on its ambitions, arguments, and what we have learned.

  • SEPTEMBER 2016 Cher launches with the opening of the Oslo Architecture Triennale. The project is also installed as a chromakey photobooth at the Triennale in Norway, allowing visitors to insert themselves as objects into the project, its sites, and its research.

  • JUNE 2016 Leah, Farzin, and Caitlin present ("pitch?") Cher at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in Denmark.

  • JUNE 2016 The Cher team returns to Copenhagen, with a summer workshop of graduate students from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The group with alpha-test the platform and conduct workshops and focus groups on the 'sharing economy' and culture of sharing in Copenhagen.

  • MARCH 2016 Cher will be developed for Copenhagen as its pilot city and launched in September as part of the Oslo Architecture Triennale: After Belonging. The community-based research and development process will be publicly shared throughout the year as part of the Triennale's In Residence program, with regular updates on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the project website.


Additional Related Links

  • The After Belonging program description for the 2016 OAT, a triennale In Residence and On Residence.

  • Description of the In Residence program.

  • The Jury Report from the Call for Intervention Strategies for the In Residence program.

  • Leah presented Cher as part of a talk at "In Our Time: The Sharing Movement" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Storefront for Art & Architecture (June 2016).

  • Leah's reading at the New York launch of the In Residence program "After Belonging & the Spaces of a Life in Transit" at the Storefront for Art & Architecture (September 2015).