In this second-part of a series for Places looking at urban interventions, Mimi Zeiger profiles the work of The Hypothetical Development Organization.
"Begun in December 2010, H.D.O. was founded by writer Rob Walker, photographer Ellen Susan and New Orleans' publisher/gadfly G.K. Darby. The trio commissions, prints and posts fantasy signage not only as a means of provoking interest in abandoned sites around New Orleans, but also as a way to generate an alternative narrative for the city. They draw on the active imaginations of architects, designers and artists, giving them free reign to rework the existing buildings on paper. "As a public service, H.D.O. invents a hypothetical future for each selected structure. Unlike a traditional, reality-based developer, however, our organization is not bound by rules relating to commercial potential, practical materials, or physics," reads the organization's website. Funded by a Kickstarter crowd-sourced grant, posters will pop up around the Big Easy this winter and spring. In April, an exhibition of all the "developments," at Du Mois Gallery, will cap the project."