The Face Your World project, an initiative of the artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, offers children a collective learning environment in which they can learn how to investigate their living environment and can also adapt it. Face Your World also provides a practical model for an urban planning process that proceeds from the profound involvement of local residents and strives to invest urban renewal tasks, which are more usually realised on the basis of economic principles, with existing social and cultural capital.
This project was conceived in Columbus, Ohio (USA), where Jeanne van Heeswijk developed the first version of the Interactor, a 3-D, multi-user computer environment, in association with Maaike van Engelen, Marco Christis and V2_Lab, for a commission from the Wexner Center for Visual Arts. The Interactor enables children to design and mould their own immediate surroundings in a computer environment. A city bus was specially converted to serve as a digital workshop for children aged from 6 to 12 years. The Interactor allows children to ‘engineer’ their surroundings, combining and re-using existing elements in order to devise new and innovative visions for their city.