Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Are you ready for....YESTERDAY'S POST!!!!

Yeah. If you don't have a lot of time, you might want to wait to read this. Or at least save your spot when you leave because 1) A ton of interesting and exciting things happened today, and 2) I took A LOT of pictures.

Chapter I: Class, Eyebeam, Postmasters
So it all begins at 9:30 this morning. Just like any other day, we got up to go to class. John had reserved a bigger room for us so we didn't have to have class in Andy's room again, but all the walls had wood paneling so we weren't sure what to do with our projector. After trying a few different spots on the wall, we realized it wasn't going to work at all there and used the ceiling instead. Everyone laid down on the floor and watched as John explained to us how to use Pages, a graphic design program. We all had a good laugh because John was doing somethign where the background faded from white to gray, and he put a white square for a picture over it, but the projector was really bright so everything just looked white. So John was going on and on about how good this white square on a white background looked.

Class ended and there was some time for lunch before we headed to Eyebeam to meet with the graffiti guys (sorry, I can't remember their actual names anymore). Rachel, Stacy, Karina, Jenny, August and I all met up to go to Chelsea and find some food. We walked around for a long time, and Stacy, Karina, and Jenny didn't seem to be deciding on anything, so Rachel August and I took off to find our own food. We got some really expensive pizza, speed walked over to Eyebeam, and waited around for the guys to show up. When they arrived, they showed us around their lab where all kinds of awesome things were going on. The main guy showed us what he was working on, which had to do with retelling his life using robots that he made of himself and his wife. Then he introduced us to a lady who makes things like Gameboys and mp3 players from scratch out of strange things. There was also a guy who was making a program to help people conserve energy, another guy from the The Yes Men who was really nice and told us about some of the stuff he's done, and then we watched a few short movies about things that the graffiti guys have done. Afterwards we went upstairs to talk to them a little more, then we left to talk with a director of Eyebeam and take a tour. She showed us around and we finished in this room where they haad been having classes earlier. For some reason, there were these really creepy crawfish in jars on the table, and all the childrens drawings around the room made the whole thing kind of spooky. We lingered around for a little bit when the tour was done so we could ask questions and talk, and I saw this really scary childs drawing on the wall about disecting crawfish.
I don't know why, but lately the idea of any kind of animal not dying a natural or acciental death has been bothering me. I guess I feel like people are animals too, and if it's not right to kill a person, how is okay to kill a different animal? But this post is already going to be huge, so I won't get into that any further.

After Eyebeam, we had a short break before going to a different gallery, Postmasters. We decided to get something to drink somewhere, and stopped in this really small Mexican coffess shop (not really sure how to explain that place). While I was paying for my drink, the guys behind the counter asked me about our group. I explained that we are on a trip for school, they asked where I was from, and I told them New Mexico. Naturally, this lead to "Do you speak spanish?" So I got to display my excellent spanish skillz of "No esta aqui!" and "No habla espanol!" They were very impressed. It just goes to show that even Mexicans have no idea what goes on in New Mexico.

Soon after, we began walking to Postmasters. On the way there, there was a huge group of policemen on horses. They seemed to be doing some kind of ceremony, and I heard someone say somthing about it being a 9/11 ceremony. Then a guy in a plaid suit/outfit walked by, so I had to take a picture of that too.

We got to Postmasters alright and talked to the curator/owner about what she does there. Her main point was that she wants New Media to be just as accepted as art like painting and photography, so she shows all kinds of art in her gallery to demonstrate that New Media isn't any different. There was also an interesting show that had to do with birdhouses and in a different room there was something with remote controlled ducks. I don't know.

Chapter II: The Diner and Eyebeam Party
It was about 5pm, and the Eyebeam/Come Out and Play festival party was at 8, so none of us really felt like going home and coming back. Rachel, Stacy, Karina, Jenny, Alissa (or Kirsten. I've forgotten her name), Terin and I all went to this place called The Diner which was really nothing like a diner. It was happy hour, so Stacy, Karina and Terin ordered some drinks. And kept ordering drinks. We had 3 hours to kill, so we stayed there for a really long time ordering drinks, eating food, talking about philosophy, and telling stories about John Schott.
See, earlier in the day, John had an idea for a project that he wanted to call a "Gangbang." Apparently he does stuff like that a lot. Terin ended up telling us a story about John telling some people not to "blow their loads" why they did their portfolios. Oh, and Terin also tied a cherry stem into a knot with his tongue and told us a story about what happened after his dog ate a tub of Vaseline. I won't relay that one.

We left the diner at about 7:45, got to Eyebeam, and hung out for a while at the party watching people play space invaders on the side of a building and using musical instruments to play Mario Cart.

Chapter III: Journey to the End of the Night

I was very lucky to get Susan to take over my volunteering shift for tonight (last night), because otherwise this never would have happened to me.
Journey to the End of the Night is like a mixture of Amazing Race and tag. There were checkpoints that we needed to get to that were ALL OVER manhattan, but there were people who were running around trying to tag you. If you got tagged, then you also became a "chaser." So now back to the story.

For some reason, Stacy was not really very excited about playing this game, and refused to even register until Jenny arrived. Rachel and I (me especially) were really excited about playing, and signed in early. Jenny didn't show up for a while, but she found us and signed in. Stacy never found us/Jenny though, aso she wasn't playing.

The first checkpoint was on 32nd street (we were on 21st). I had been a little worried that Rachel would be too relaxed and not really even attempt to hurry, but Jenny was more hardcore about it so it all worked out. We set off together in search of a subway that would take us to 32nd street, all the while looking around for chasers and probably looking really paranoid.

We made it to the first checkpoint fairly quickly and without encountering any chasers. We figured out where we were going (checkpoint 2 was in the village), and started walking.

As we walked down the street, I was keeping an eye out for chasers. Walking walking walking, and then all of a sudden I saw one calmly walking in our direction but not looking at us. I walked way over to the side of the sidewalk and sort of stood/hid behind a mailbox. The guy was walking very casually almost past Rachel and Jenny, and then all of a sudden screamed something about how they should run and started chasing us. We took off down the street as fast as we could and ran until we couldn't see him anymore. Then we realized that Rachel was gon and started freaking out thinking that she'd been tagged. It turned out she was just hiding in a shop though, and we got back together and headed to the subway to get to the checkpoint.

Chapter IV: Checkpoint #2

Part of the rules of the game was that bus stops and subway cars and platforms were safe spots where we couldn't get tagged, but actual subway stations weren't.

On the way to checkpoint 2, we were standing on the opposite platform from some people who we realized were chasers. We kind of stared at eachother for a minute, then decided that it was a safe spot and waved at them. Instead of waving back, they started whispering to eachother and then went down the stairs to come over to our side of the platform.

Jenny, Rachel and I all freaked out and had to hide behind an elevator while the guys hunted around for us. A train came and left and it seemed that they had gotten on it, so we were safe.

As we waited on teh train, we had paranoid conversations about whether or not the guys were waiting for us at our stop or if they had gotten off somewhere else. We decided to get off a stop early incase they were waiting and walked for a few blocks probably looking very suspicious since we were constantly checking for chasers.

We were walking down the street trying to find where we were going, and all of a sudden this guy on a corner turns around, walks towards us and says "Hey, I've been waiting for you!" It was one of the chasers from the subway!!! Aaaaahhh!!!!! Jenny screamed "RUN!!!" and she and Rachel took off across the street. The chaser was in my way of going across safely, so I turned around and ran as fast as I could between the parking meters and parked cars to the end of the block. I didn't see him anywhere, so I crossed the street and hid in some kind of hotel until I could call rachel and find out where they were. We met up again in a minute and continued on.

Chapter V: Battery Park, Guys from London, and a Phone Explosion

We got on the train to Battery Park (checkpoint 3) with a few other people on our side (we'll call them Oranges, because chasers had yellow ribbons and ours were orange). On the platform, we had seen some chasers who get onto our train, but we weren't sure if they had seen us or not. All the other Oranges and ourselves were a little paranoid, so one of them went to look out the window to see if the chasers were looking like they'd seen us. They weren't, and they got off at the next stop so we were alright. We all introduced ourselves to eachother, and Rachel, Jenny and I met some really nice guys from London named Alex and Alfie who also had no idea where they were going. So we teamed up with them and a few other peopl to figure out where this labrynth in Battery Park was. On the way, there were a couple of Oranges walking ahead of us who I guess thought we might be a mob of chasers. We decided to have a little fun with them and started walking after them fairly quickly, then when Alfie yelled out that we were on their side they slowed down and agreed to join our group.

Battery Park was a little different than the other check in points we had because the safe zone was really small-only about a 15 ft radius around the actual checkpoint. Since we had no idea where the check in point was anyway, this was a little scary.

We cautiously approached the park, looking around fr chasers, and as we climbed over some benches to get in a chaser on a bike came out of nowhere and started coming after us. We all sprinted into battery pakr, not knowing where we were going. Rachel twisted her ankle, Jenny stayed behind to help her, and the british guys were way ahead of us. Suddenly, I was alone in the dark. In Battery Park. In the middle of the night. But Alfie and Alex popped out from somewhere and waved for me to come over, then we waited for Jenny and Rachel to get over. Our group slowly reformed and we went looking for the labrynth again.

We finally found it, right next to where we had come in almost, got out paper signed, and then went off looking for the next checkpoint which had moved to Broadway. Apparently the police didn't like the one on Wallstreet.

We began following some girls who seemed to know where they were going, and ended up on this tiny street between Broadway and something else. We were walking up the hill as quietly as we could, when we all glimpsed a chaser running towards us from about 20 feet away. The two girls leading ran off down Broadway, but most of us turned around and headed down the hill. I was running as hard as I could and checked behind me to see where everyone was. I saw that someone had fallen down and was on the ground, so I started slowing down to turn around and help, but the chaser yelled something like "She's down, but I'm still after you!" and Alex, Alfie and I had to keep going. The chaser was gaining on me really quickly, and I knew that unless I thought of something really creative I was going to get caught. I could hear him about 5 ft behind me, and I tried to turn the corner quickly to get out of the way or something. I don't know what I was trying to do. But as I did it, my cell phone flew out of my backpack pocket and exploded into about 10 different parts all over the sidewalk. I heard the chaser say something like "Go get your cell phone!" as he passed me to get Alex and Alfie. So I was safe. I picked up the pieces of my cell phone and walked up the hill to see if anyone had been tagged and find out who fell. It turned out it was Rachel, but she wasn't hurt too badly. She had a light scrape on her elbow and a slightly ripped shirt.

The checkpoint wasn't too far from where we were. There were apparently some chasers and everyone scattered for a moment, but I just hid behind a pillar and never saw them run by so I continued walking. Then I saw one on a bike lingering around in an ally, so I had to sprint by to the checkpoint. We got our paper signed and were just starting to talk about what had happened to Alfie and Alex when Alex showed up...by himself. He told us they got Alfie and we were going to rest and then keep going when Alfie showed up! He was, in fact, a chaser at that point, but he said he was on a "mission of peace" and told us that since the game was almost over (it was about 11:30 and the game ended at midnight) the chasers were easing off so people could finish. Then he said that if anyone was tired of playing, they could just go straight to the after party and hang out. We decided that we had been through enough for the night, and went off with him and Alex to find the after party bar.

Chapter VI: I think this is the last chapter

It took a while to get there, but we had a good time talking on the way and confusing people by wearing chaser and orange ribbons. Unfortunately they were carding at the door so we couldn't even go in and hang out. We talked outside for a little bit, but eventually the desire for beer was too much for Alex and Alfie and they gave us their numbers and told us to "text" them when we get to London. If the night had ended there, it would have been one of the funnest (is that a word) nights of my life. Right up there with Eric's all night chocolate syrup dance party. But we had some trouble with the trains (they were slow and a bunch of them weren't running) and by the time we got off at our stop Jenny and Rachel were really really grumpy. I tried telling them happy stories and making jokes, but I only got one sort of chuckle out of Rachel when I said that talking to Terin was like watching a Shakespeare movie because you have no idea what they're saying for the first 15 minutes or so, and then it suddenly all makes perfect sense (Terin has an extensive vocabulary which he uses. A lot). I still had kind of a good time on the way back though. We met some middle aged ladies in the subway who were terrified of rats, and there were rats all over the place, and we had to get off at the other 125th street stop which was more in Harlem, so we got to walk through Harlem at 2am. It actually wasn't that scary. I don't know what the big deal is. I guess it's just because black people live there?? Oooooh black people scary! Seriously people, get over it.

When I got up to my room, I really just wanted to lay down and pass out because we had been running around all night. But Stacy and Terin were sitting on my bed talking about stuff, and since I was not actually that sleepy (just physically exhausted), I hung around and talked to them for about an hour. They got up and went to bed, and I spent two hours writing down stuff from the day in my Harry Potter journal so I wouldn't forget it. And that is the end.

One last thing: Jenny has some video of Alex and Alfie which I hope to put up soonish. I'll see what I can do, but keep them in mind because otherwise you'll be like "Who are these weird british guys?"


Anonymous Mararrrr said...

You'll be happy to know that your blog is the first thing to come up in Google for "mimbulus blog". You're a success!

I was Googling it because my hard drive went boom this weekend, so I'm in the lab at school.

Where does this java chip come from? Is it one of those "random" topics? You're getting so edgy and avante garde.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous YoMama said...

I have a suggestion for your parking meter music, though I'm sure you'd come up with a much better idea eventually. You're exceptional at choosing music. Anyway, Oingo Boingo's "Fill the Void" might be a good one. Actually Senor Zombie Gato suggested it and asked me to pass it along.
I'm enjoying reading your posts. Your Aunt Sharon and Cousin Erika are reading them, too. Maybe others.
Please be more careful with your punctuation for me, though. I'm such a literalist that I trip badly over mispunctuated sentences. Slows me down a lot. I need more commas and question marks. I get so confused.
I think you get that whole thing about killing non-human creatures being similar to murder from me. It's something I think about almost daily and have for a long time. Unfortunately, perhaps, the upshot of dwelling on such a thing for like fifty years is that murder -- killing humans, -- at least on rare occasion, seems as justifiable as swatting mosquitos. Kind of problematic in the real world.
On the issue of electronic media, new media, gaining credibility as fine art, I want to point out that the same kind of issues came up in the early 1900s when Alfred Steiglitz, q.v., opened his art gallery in NYC and exhibited fine art photography alongside paintings. It was unheard of and made a huge impact on the history and future of photography and art in general. It was on Steiglitz's very heels that Marcel Duchamp, q.v., introduced the idea of found objects as art. It was an interesting time in the art world.
Speaking of the art world.., I know you have other exciting things to occupy your time, but I'm told that, if you can spend a few hours on a train, you can go out to the far side of Long Island and see the studio and home of Jackson Pollack/Lee Krasner. I'm told it is a memorable and worthwhile experience. You might keep it in mind. There're probably more details online.
Clearly you are having a great time with all those street games. Who organizes them? How do you hear about them? Do they have any educational virtue? Or are they mainly for bonding and breaking up the academic focus, like...fun?
Stay crazy, smart, happy, all that. Talk to you later. Have a spectacular day!

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