Have you ever wanted to talk to a veteran or thank them, but felt funny just walking up to them out of nowhere? Matter Practice has eliminated that apprehension with their unassuming Peace and Quiet pavilion in Times Square. The curious pop-up shed invites civilians to take a load off and engage in story telling by recent and past veterans - all in the middle of bustling Times Square. The pavilion offers a place of respite, while giving regular folks a chance to understand what it's like to experience war on the front lines.
When first approaching the plywood and glass pavilion, it could easily be mistaken for any other food truck or ticket stand in the tourist-heavy area. Sitting in Duffy Square just south of the red TKTS stairs, the installation reflects the constantly moving, multi-colored glow from the dozen or so over-sized screens that play video advertisements twenty four hours a day.
Inside the pavilion, the hustle and bustle of Times Square is still visible, but the welcoming center offers a bit of solitude. Matter Practice teamed up with StoryCorps, an organization that introduces veterans back into the civilian lifestyle to create an environment where every hour on the hour, visitors are invited to begin a dialogue with the veterans inside. Asking strangers about personal experiences with touchy subjects, like war and combat, is easier than with loved ones, but many of the dialogue participants may have started out as strangers only to leave the pavilion as friends with a deeper understanding of each other. Moderators are present to keep the flow of the conversation going, with a capacity of eight people inside the pavilion, to keep things intimate.
Today is the last day to check it out, participants can sign up online or just show up at the pavilion on a first come-first serve basis.
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