Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

When There's No More Forever

I haven't been in a blogging mood for a couple of days, but I'm back now. So you can all continue your lives. You haven't missed much though, so I'll just quickly update.

Sunday: We went to Camden Market (the awesome goth market) in.....Camden? Yeah. There were many awesome ultra goth clothes which I wanted to buy, but couldn't either because of a lack of money, or because I'd just look weird in them. I did almost buy some £34 pants, but then I realized that I would only have £8 if I did that. Eventually, I ended up getting this really cool and useful skirt that you wear over your pants. It has big pockets on it that you can actually fit something like a passport in, a secret pocket (good for hiding money) and a compass. And it looks cool. It was £20, but for something so good for travel, I think it was worth it. Otherwise, I bought a couple of shirts that were only £2 each, a new messanger bag for £4, and a few presents for people. So I really didn't spend too much money.

I also ended up MAKING some money!! While I was walking back from the subway stop, I sort of (not really) got lost and ended up on the street next to the one I was supposed to be on. While I was walking down, there was a guy with pamphlets on the corner watching me. So I kind of did the "don't make eye contact" thing, but he walked up to me anyway and said "Hello, would you like to take a survey for £20? It'll only take about 15 minute of your time." $20 is a lot of money to get for a survey in America, so I was like "hell yeah!" But not really.

I'd heard a bunch of stories about tourists getting tricked into going into allies and things and then they get mugged or whatever, so I was a little suspicious at first. I asked him where the place was, and it was in a building with a bunch of people looking like they were about to take a survey in front of it, so I said something like "Sure, as long as you aren't going to mug me or anything." and the guy assured me that he wouldn't. So I went.

It was some kind of survey about cell phones, and they needed more women for it in my age group. So I made back the £20 I spent on this skirt. Yay money.

Monday: We got up early and went to a circuit bending workshop. A nice guy named Ben showed us how to dismantle toys and then make odd noises with them, basically. It was fun though. He had a Furbie which he had taken apart and messed with, so it was even scarrier than they usually are since it now had a crack twitch and made really odd noises.

I took apart a Turtle toy that made music, and poked at it for a while. It was kind of cool, and I got it to make some interesting noises. The best part was when Alissa and I hooked her phone toy and my turtle toy together and made a bunch of really cool sounds that came out in "stereo" (both of our speakers were making noise.)

After that, we made a "ghetto amp" out of a speaker and a cardboard box, and hooked it up to our toys so that we could make even louder weird noises. Then Ben tried to show us how to make an oscillator, but none of us pulled it off (I think.).

Overall, we had a good time, and I spent the rest of the day working on my parking meter project, which still isn't done. At all.

(By the way, now you can see a nice documentary that Joe and Jeremy made here

Today: We got up early (so early...) and went to the Tate to speak with the film curator there, who happens to be a Carleton '90 graduate. We watched a really strange movie that I didn't understand at all, and then discussed it. Apparently, it was about gangs and surveillance. I had kind of thought it was about dancing.....I guess I'll never know.

Completely off subject, the Tate has the HUGE (and cool looking) slides that you can pay to go down (I heard it was only £1) and it looked like it would be fun. But I didn't get a chance to do it. I will though. I will.

After the Tate, we went to CCTV, a surveillance place. It was really odd. When we got inside, we were greeted by these two very stoic looking guys in black suits who looked exactly like secret service agents. They turned out to be pretty nice though. They showed us around and told us about what they do, which is basically....surveillance. Of everything. They had screens all over the place that were showing various parts of London, mostly streets. What they do is watch all of this live feed and record it, and make sure nothing weird is going on. If something looks suspicious, they can call the police and have them check it out. What they apparently do most of the time though, is find the recordings of crimes for court cases.

So question of the day, what is the big deal with surveillance? We went there and saw what they were doing, and really all it was, was that they were checking to make sure that nothing illegal was going on. Sure it's a little wierd that we can be watched all the time, but as long as you're not doing something bad, does it matter? I tried to talk to some people about it today, and pretty much their reasoning for it being bad is that "there's no privacy." and "it could be bad." But it's not like they plaster what you're doing all over the internet. It was seriously one lady watching stuff. As for "it could be bad," sure, if it fell into the wrong hands. But couldn't we just make sure that doesn't happen?? Though I suppose Bush got elected a second time and I never thought that would happen. Anyway, people's thoughts on surveillance would be cool.

I came back and worked on my project for a while (by the way, the trading card project is in motion! Sort of!) and then went off to find a dance studio to take some swing classes and hopefully go dancing. I took both the beginner and intermediate class, and they were both alright. It always bothers me though that old men seem to always blame the follow for messing up, because mess ups are almost always the leads fault. But whatever. I realized that I didn't have my ID with me, and the dance afterwards was in a bar, so I just decided to walk home.

It was about 9pm, and I realized that I was a lone girl walking home (about a mile away, not too bad) at night in a city that's not very safe after dark. I was kind of freaked out, and the fact that I saw a guy smoking crack (he had the spoon and everything!) five minutes into my walk. Things started to seem better since I turned onto Oxford, a fairly populated street, but that doesn't mean I didn't also see a guy doing cocaine (while walking!) eventually. So yeah. Moral of the story: London is sort of creepy at night.

Well, weird German guys are sexually harassing us through the door, so I should go.


Anonymous Talia said...

On surveillance, I confess the only times I wish it weren't there in my own life are when I realize it would prevent me from doing something kind of bad to begin with, i.e. "How am I ever going to decapitate so-and-so in his sleep and then escape the country if there's SURVEILLANCE everywhere? Man, they should get rid of that stuff!"
Mostly I tend to feel like you do about it: generally the surveyed area is out on a public street or something and no one's ever going to see it but 2 guys, neither of whom really cares that you were picking your nose, and certainly aren't going to like, track you down and laugh at you over it or anything.

Strangely, I think I only ended up walking through London at night one time, afer I took the Jack the Ripper architectural tour (it was kind of lame.) I did not see people doing drugs or anything though. The streets all tended to be well lit and full of good law-abiding Muslims (Canning Town is full of them) so it wasn't so bad. I recall I was really spooked in Edinburgh when I had to walk alone; the streets were all dark and the buldings look like the classic "Haunted House" school of architecture, and part of why I;d gone to that city in the first place is because it was supposed to be full of ghosts. It was one of those cases where you get yourself completely freaked out over nothing.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Bicyclemark said...

OK wow.. I've not booked anything close to as exciting as the shit you've seen in London.. no exploding furbee, no museum curator either... but if random meetings on the street with odd characters is your thing... I promise you'll enjoy amsterdam.

oh yeah.. person who organized the amsterdam leg of your tour here. HI.

3:27 AM  
Anonymous Badgwell said...

I've been to the Tate. All I remember about it is that most of it sucks, but there's a really awesome piano hanging from the ceiling that explodes every two minutes or so and then pulls back together playing creepy music. Something about anarchy. Whatever. But it's awesome.

3:50 AM  
Anonymous Mararrrr said...

Yeah, that whole "let's just make sure it never falls into the wrong hands" thing sounds good, except never works, except sometimes in the short term. But yeah, if you're not doing anything bad, I don't really see a problem with them watching a public street.

It does raise the question in my mind though, if it's that easy for them to watch the streets without people really knowing, it's just as easy for them to turn it toward your window. But that's the paranoia speaking. Also, there's that whole scenario where the government gets crazy and oppressive and starts making arbitrary things illegal, and in that case, I'd rather they not be watching me to see when I put on lipstick, which is now illegal.

What's this playing card project? Or should I not ask just yet?

Also, I found out the other day that it's pretty easy to get pepper spray in Louisiana. In New Mexico, Walgreens didn't even sell it. Here, they have a mountain of it next to the cash register, just waiting for a 6 year old to steal while mommy is paying and then use on the playground. I should send you some, for when you're walking around at night.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw London surveillance on TV one day. It was pretty funny. The man watching the monitor had a microphone and could ask people to pick up their trash when they littered or get off their bicycles when they were in a pedestrian area. Still the idea is a little creepy. I'm sure it just technology advancing and we will all get used to it but there's no doubt it will be misused eventually.
By the way, two of your pictures were unreadable today and allies is not the same as alleys.
I saw that exhibit at the Tate with the slide on TV Tuesday. The reporter went down three times with his camera. It looked like a hoot. The guide had to explain how it was art. Hee, hee.
You've quit worrying about food, it seems. Hope you're taking care of yourself.
- YoMama

4:46 PM  

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