Finally managed to get the comments box appearing below. Not quite sure how.
Slow going here, having announced it. Not good. Hard to sit down and write stuff here in this Manhattan appartment: too many reasons to get out. For a start it’s overheated, and there’s no way of turning it down. It really doesn’t feel too smart to be having the windows wide open even on the cold days. Apparently it’s a common problem with the older buildings – one big furnace and a superintendant who decides the day when the whole place turns from fridge to oven.
Silvia and I spending our days walking the aisles, pretending to shop. We’re making a new piece similar to Etiquette in device, but which will take place in supermarkets. Details still quite sketchy, but it’s probably safe to say that it will involve two people ‘meeting’ there, and that it all happens under the radar – ie. without authorisation from the supermarket authorities. We’re exploring everything you can ‘do’ without being noticed (given that there will be couples doing this every 30 mins or so, all day, for days at a time). Certainly it’s in our favour that so many shoppers wear headphones.
We’re exploring many ideas, but one book which has been invaluable is this, Paco Underhill’s Why we Buy. Wierdly, I found the whole thing online. It’s cringeworthy, but very interesting – strategies, basicly, to make you buy stuff you don’t need. For anyone with concerns about human consumption, this book manages to be both horrific and hilarious.
Went out to the Bronx the other day, to an older shopping centre where there’s a big ‘Key Foods’ about to be shut down. It was all rather lovely… the place hanging on to some quite old decor, sun streaming in the front. And all the while various characters readying for Halloween later on. We realised afterwards that we need to look for the ugly places, the modern, soul-less, window-less versions. For this piece we need non-places, the kind where modernity has run ahead, leaving us with that now common sense of bewilderment numbed by spectacle.
We thought too about the kind of work which actively goes against the flow of production, consumption and waste (expressed well in this short film) – work by artists like My Dad’s Strip Club, and Reverend Billy (who we’re due to meet) – and figured that instead we’d like to think of our act as immobile within that flow: still, yet hyper-sensitive to what’s happening.
image – My Dad’s Strip Club – see here
Sunder (from the Foundry who are supporting us here) brought us along to a friends screening of a new film by the Yes Men, which followed with quite an in-depth feedback / brainstorm session regarding possible changes they might make to it. The film, their second, focusses on their last four years of action, including the amazing intervention at the BBC, 20 years after Bhopal. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a while, so it was great to meet Jacques and Mike in person and get a view on their thinking.