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“Healing Destinations” is a large interactive public display  of planet earth installed at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NYC that engages audiences through input from their mobile devices.

Focusing on the hospital setting as one of isolation and anxiety, the project attempts to quell these feelings and make the space a more relatable and comfortable one. The project’s users are both patients and visitors located in waiting spaces in the hospital. These visitors can include patients awaiting treatment or family members waiting to hear from doctors about their loved ones in the hospital.


Within the hospital setting, patients are often isolated from their familiar surroundings as well as their family and friends when they enter the healing and recovery process. This isolation can be both unsettling and foreign for patients not used to hospitalization or recovering from unexpected ailments or long term complications in their care that persist over days, weeks, and months. Speaking as someone who has experienced these types of situations before, the sense of isolation and uncertainty can be overwhelming for any patient as they await doctors advice on treatment and remain in their rooms for recovery and rest. Often, the idea of escaping their immediate environment gives patients a sense of “hope” that they will recover over time and that they will eventually be able to do the things that they remember doing before their ailment such as travel, spend time outdoors, engage with family and friends, and rejoin their local communities.


To interact with the project, patients and visitors to the hospital send a text message from their phone that includes a “destination” such as a city, town, state, home address, favorite restaurant, landmark, or other specific place to a phone number on the screen. Once sent, an animation begins on the screen of a 3D globe and accompanying graphical flair that transports them to that location. Once recognized by the system, realtime information about the location taken from live Wikipedia data is displayed on the screen. This experience acts like an instant, on-demand travel guide that is both public to encourage conversations between people in the waiting space, as well as personal to the individual or group sending the location. In addition to locations, visitors can text in emotions (such as happy, sad, excited), foods (such as pizza, sushi, etc..), or descriptive words like “beauty” which will transport them to globally known locations that exhibit those characteristics.


This video explains how Healing Destinations functions


Jonah Brucker-Cohen
jonah at

Made possible by the Montefiore Hospital Fine Art Program

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