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

I just want a Java Chip Frappuccino

Despite last night's excitement, today was not a total let down. At all. I didn't get to sleep last night until 5am, but I still managed to wake up in time to go play the game Cruel 2 B Kind down on Broadway between Columbus circle and Times Square. The game was made up of 70 or so teams of two people. When a person signs up (which we did by texting the people in charge, since it's a text message based game) they recieve a text message on their phone with their "weapon," "weakness," and code word. The weapon is a kind of compliment or nice thing to say to someone, and that is how you "kill" people in the game. By saying something nice. BUT, a groups weapon can only kill someone if it's the other groups weakness. It sounds confusing, it'll make more sense in a second.
Stacy, Rachel, Susan and I got there a little late, and only Rachel and I officially signed up before the game started. We walked about a block before we recieved our first text telling us that our weapon was "Nice shoes!" our weakness was "Have a spectacular day!" and our code word was "cold." We had totally missed the meeting with the rules and such, so we were trying to figure out what all this meant when we were approached by a couple of tourists who asked us if we could point them in the direction of Rockafeller Center. None of us quite knew where it was, but we told them to go towards 42nd street and it was near there somewhere. They thanked us and ended with "Have a spectacular day!" We all stood there kind of confused for a second, then Rachel said, "wait, are you playing the game!??" It turned out they were, and we had just died. It was a little sad since we had only been playing for about one minute, but in this game when you "die" you actually just give the people who killed you your code word and then join them and become a bigger team. after about half an hour, we had become a huge group of about 12 people. Our new weapon (there were updates every once in a while) was offering someone help, and our weakness was being serenaded.

We walked around for a long time trying to find people who looked like they were playing (some people had really well thought out disguises: there were people dressed as business men, tourists, mothers with their children, and girls window shopping. So we'd be walking and someone would just pop out and scream a compliment at us, we'd say "you're too kind." and then try ours. Sadly, we never found the people who were supposed to serenade us. We did (as a group) scream "Can we help you!?!?!" at about 100 people who weren't playing the game though. I must say though, my favorite part of the game was about half way into it. About 5 large groups of players (including us) were all standing on different sides of the street at an intersection, just by coincidence. We recognized eachother, and there was about five minutes of "CAN I HELP YOU!?!?!?!" "NICE SHOES!!!!!!!" "YOU LOOK JUST LIKE (insert celebrity)" "HAVE A SPECTACULAR DAY!!!!!" and "WAY TO GO!!!" from all sides. The tourists just stared around with this expression of "What the hell is going on???"

There was a "picnic" (we were a little disappointed) of cupcakes, cookies and juice boxes, and then they gave out awards to the people who won the game. The leaders of our group won "Super Assassin," which was exciting, and then it was off for lunch followed by a game I signed up for called "Tag Shufflesition." There was a little bit of time before the game started, since we needed a certain number of people for it to work alright, so I talked to the creator of the game a little bit. It turned out he's a student at Indiana University and he made the game with one of his professors. We talked for about 10 minutes about games, and Journey to the End of the Night, and then the game began.
Tag Shufflesition is a lot like Simon Says. Each player receives an ipod Shuffle with a special soundtrack programmed to it. On the soundtrack, someone gives you directions on things to do in the game area. I think "You are a Jogging Bumblebee. Weave in and out around the other players and make buzzing sounds." was my favorite, but there were also things like "lean to the left for the duration of this song" followed by a 5 or 10 second song and "Orbit in a clockwise direction around another player." The object of the game is to find the person who has an extra direction on their shuffle (and will therefore do something no one else does every once in a while), and then start imitating them. When everyone is imitating the correct person, the game is over.

The first round of that game didn't go too well. No one ever found out who the person was because we didn't quite understand enough to develop a kind of strategy. But in the second version (there were multiple soundtracks and multiple difficulties), a few of us knew to be on the lookout for anyone doing something we hadn't been asked to do yet. It seemed like forever of watching everyone walk around like a zombie, pretend to catch stars, stand like a steel pole, etc., before a girl started walking around pretending to shake hands with people and greet them. All at once everyone turned around and started following her and imitating her. When the guy running the game held up the green piece of paper (signifying that it was over and we won) everyone yelled "Yay!!!!!" So it was pretty fun.

I left Shufflesition before I really wanted to because my legs hurt (still from last night) and I needed to be volunteering at Eyebeam for the festival in a bit. While I was on the train, the driver? conductor? came on the speaker to tell us that the 1 train had gone express (which there isn't supposed to be on the weekend anyway...) and that we were stopping at 34th Penn Station and 14th Street. Neither of those were quite where I wanted to be, so I decided I should just get off at Penn and see what happens.

Penn Station is HUGE. It took me 15 minutes of wandering around to find the exit. Never go there unless you have to. That is all.

I ended up walking way more than I wanted to in order to get to Eyebeam, but I made it there half an hour early anyway for my intense 2 hours of volunteering which involved watching people play Sonic Pong, setting up some chairs, getting a free t-shirt, and eating pizza. Yeah, I was really exhausted after that one. But I still had a really good time. I talked to some people about the games, helped a male volunteer figure out the toilet paper situation in the women's bathroom, and just enjoyed myself in general.

There was a talk at Eyebeam about gaming that started right after my shift, but I was just too tired to stay there any more. I took off about 10 minutes into it, came back to my room thinking I was going to work on my blog or something, and ended up just passing out on my bed from exhaustion. Then I woke up and did this.

Tomorrow is going to be pretty exhausting but fun too. I'm playing The Go Game, which is a sort of scavenger hunt type thing (I've found that the descriptions on the website really don't encompass what the games are at all so far, so we'll see what it actually is). I'm on my own, so I'm being placed on someone elses team. It should be fun. But I won't be able to walk until the middle of next week at this rate. I'm going to start working on my post from yesterday. Make a note of what time this was posted and what time that will be posted, and you'll be able to understand how long I spend on these. Look at the times on this one and the one before it. These take forever!!


Anonymous YoMama said...

Dos mas cosas.
That game with all that text messaging.., Is that going to be on your phone bill? I'm concerned that you have a NM area code.
For info sake.., Stan Brakhage and Bruce Connor are GIANTS in art history and you were lucky to be able to see their ground-breaking work. It's hard to appreciate from this distance, when other work has borrowed from these people's ideas, but there was very little art film at their level before them. A French artist named Fernand Leger, q.v., did a little bit of notable art film in the twenties. I guess he was ahead of his time because nothing else as meaningful occurred until Brakhage and Connor and Warhol and such jumped in and developed the idea of film as fine art. We screened some of their work -- and other remarkable early art films -- at the 2000 SF Film Festival, up in Muse Media, and I'll never forget it. SITE SF also screened some of Connor's work during the fifth biennial. If you had been interested in filmmaking at the time, it would have been pretty exciting for you. I thought it was cool.

2:21 PM  

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