The Frogtown Salo(o)n was an interactive sidewalk installation created by Donatella Cusmá and Bojána Bányász, located at the intersection of Knox Street and Blake Avenue during the nighttime hours of the 2013 Frogtown Artwalk. A game of chance to develop the Elysian Valley neighborhood, better known as Frogtown, unfolded on a glowing light-table with a simplified zoning-map of the neighborhood. While Bojána and Donatella were taking bets, running and commentating the game and keeping score, the configuration of new buildings or recreational areas around well-known landmarks of Frogtown was left to the imagination of (and dynamic between) up to 8 volunteer players.
During the short hours of its operation, more than 70 players of the Frogtown Salo(o)n built a playground, a farmers market and a recreation center on the lot of the Department of Building and Safety, constructed countless swimming pools and community gardens in the residential zone (not even sparing the Ripple Street tunnel), put swimming pools and gardens on the Figueroa Street bridge, peppered the river path with eateries, set up residence in the middle of parks, put a cement mixing plant next to the skate-park, and even created nightlife in the neighborhood.
Intended as a whimsical catalyst of discussion on the neighborhood, the project invited neighbors and visitors to create imaginary communities based around well-known landmarks of Elysian Valley. The objective was for players to gain and share knowledge about the neighborhood of Frogtown and to propose architectural, urban and social improvements for the area. The game aimed to provoke a lively discussion on the current status and future development of the neighborhood, with both players and dealers learning from this interaction. The tangible outcome of the game was a three-dimensional map of the neighborhood transformed by the players through the course of the event.
A heartfelt thank you goes to the Elysian Valley Arts Collective and to the people of Frogtown for welcoming us in their community, to Tracy Stone and Allen Anderson for organizing such an amazing event and letting us install on their property, to Jodie Bass for generously providing some of the materials necessary for the project, to Freyja Bardell and Brian Howe of Greenmeme for always welcoming us to their amazing studio where the magic of silk-screening occurs, to Josko Kirigin for helping us with printing and to Roberto Paz , Sameena Sitabkhan and Will Coley for capturing the event on camera. Mayuko, Byron, Christian and BB, our projects are better because you are there to support us!