The Foursquare Mayor Chair

Alan Hook, Oonagh Murphy

Research output: Non-textual formInstallation


The foursquare mayor chair is an artistic intervention and an academic research project. Created by Alan Hook and Oonagh Murphy the project is a playful installation that challenges how visitors engage with art centres, museums and festivals by placing one visitor at a time in the ceremonial role of foursquare mayor chair mayor. More than simply an engaging artistic intervention, the foursquare mayor chair provides cultural organisations with a new way to increase visitor dwell time and prompt repeat visits.To check-in visitors need to physically visit the cultural venue in which the foursquare mayor chair is located, to become mayor visitors need to check-in regularly. Someone might go to see a show one evening, and because they want to become mayor will then go out of their way to pop in for a coffee the next day. The project also seeks to change how visitors engage with cultural organisations by acting as a catalyst for a deeper relationship between visitors and venues. The foursquare mayor chair encourages visitors to see cultural venues as places to hang out, meet friends, read a book, and grab a coffee. Our mayor will be made to feel especially welcome, and will be encouraged to bring friends and relatives for afternoon tea, or host colleagues for an informal meeting in their foursquare mayor chair parlour.Alongside the direct impact of increased footfall from foursquare users host organisations will also benefit from increased social media buzz. When a visitor checks-in on foursquare they are prompted to share their check-in on Facebook and Twitter. This provides a valuable personal endorsement from visitors for the host venue. Visitors can leave tips, and photos to document their visit and these are then shared with other foursquare users and the Facebook and Twitter friends and followers of that visitor. Foursquare is the social network for people that like to go out and do stuff. The very people that arts organisations want to engage with.The competitive element of foursquare prompts friendly rivalries between friends and strangers, this project will not only exploit competition within individual host venues but will also play on it to create a competitive element between venues. Once the chair moves location the mayorship will also move, however to maintain their position as mayor the visitor will need to physically go to the new host organisation and check-in. This provides a unique opportunity for host organisations to cross fertilise audiences.The foursquare mayor chair is a transmedia project that plays on the digital concept of ‘foursqaure mayor’ and extends it into a real world setting, a project tumblr and twitter feed provide further opportunities to create a rich multi format narrative. Physically the installation will include a throne like chair, and a cordoned off VIP seating area. Each mayor will receive a certificate of mayorship in exchange for agreeing to let us mount their photo as part of the installation. Each venue will offer a unique reward to the mayor from free tea & coffee, to complimentary theatre tickets. As the project develops the foursquare mayor chair can be scaled up, and tailored to the specific needs of each host organisation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2012
EventThe Foursquare Mayor Chair - Crescent Arts Center
Duration: 7 Apr 20127 May 2012


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