Portable City Projects, People’s Radio Café


  • PPS Performative (Outside of the Gallery) People’s Radio Café (Images)
  • PPS Performative (Outside of the Gallery) People’s Radio Café (TJ XHUAN radio broadcast) in construction

  • PPS Exhibit (Inside the Gallery) People’s Radio Café


The objects I use create a sense of place that offers comfort, familiarity and through hospitality encourages conversation.”1

Jules Rochielle Sievert’s Portable City Project (2009 ongoing) is a toolbox for social interaction. It includes a variety of objects that, as instant powder can be turned into pudding through the addition of water, are activated by the warm welcome and cordial interactions that Sievert and her various collaborators offer in the person of ‘host’, ‘waiter’, or similar.

Set up as temporary installations in such traditionally alienating public spaces as a downtown alleyway or a crowded bus station, Portable Cityworks to generate places for, and spaces of, conviviality. As the artist explains, “Sometimes I serve pie or make food to ‘help bring people to the table’. Sometimes I offer exhausted transit users and pedestrians in ‘waiting’ comfortable seating”. In all instances the Portable City ‘tools’ are intended to facilitate creative interplay, both among people and between people and their environment.

I choose the term “conviviality” to designate the opposite of industrial productivity. I intend it to mean autonomous and creative intercourse among persons, and the intercourse of persons with their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man-made environment. I consider conviviality to be individual freedom realized in personal interdependence and, as such, an intrinsic ethical value.”1

During Performing Public Space Sievert and her frequent collaborators Frederick Portillo, Andy Manoushagian and Marcus Benigno will partner with local citizens and artists to carry out a number of Portable City interventions in Colonia Federal, in addition to activating La Casa del Tunel’s young rooftop café.

Focusing on the neighborhood of La Casa del Tunel, which is flanked by the border wall, Portable City Project will seek to mediate conversation between residents, vendors, pedestrians, cab drivers, and border guards. Posing the question “what is your favorite song (and why)?’ Sievert and her team will compile a sound track of and for the neighborhood, inviting people to come and listen, while sharing food and further conversation.

1: Portable City Website.  2: Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society, 1971

Visit the Portable City website

Read about Portable City in New Strategies for Public Art

PPS Performative: People’s Radio Café

On Feb. 13th and 14th Jules Rochielle Sievert of Portable City Projects (PCP) and collaborators Marcus Benigno, Fredrick Portillo and Andy Manoushagian wheeled the PCP ‘kit” through Tijuana, and set about asking people: “What is your favorite song, and why?” The songs and stories will be compiled and the audio tracks played back to the neighborhood as part of the new Portable City Project: People’s Radio Café.