'Songs for Thomas Piketty' is a new project that uses boomboxes to collect money in a Dutch city where panhandling has been outlawed. The project ultimately demonstrates a creative way of bringing visibility back to a population that often goes unnoticed.
Songs for Thomas Piketty is a project organized by artist Dries Verhoeven as a mean of combating a ban on panhandling in the Dutch city of Utrecht. The project involves a series of boomboxes installed throughout Utrecht and nearby Rotterdam. Each audio system plays a song about unity and then a recording of a real person asking for help. The idea behind the project is to bring visibility back to the city's homeless population and demonstrate that bans on panhandling do nothing to combat the true root of inequality. As Verhoeven explains, "Art in general can offer resistance to this tendency to tune things out, it can deactivate our 'autopilot.'"