Month: March 2016

Artwork 3: Intervention – Elevator Mischief – FINAL

Arwork #3 Intervention (<—click on me)

For this assignment I explored how I could intercept and influence the routines that many people have hardwired into their day. By hardwired, I mean that these routines are so engrained in someone’s everyday life that they complete them without any thought or attention; an example could be something as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning after you wake up.

The intervention experiment that I decided to conduct was to put a “Malfunctioning Elevator” sign in my elevator that instructed people to first travel to the basement (ground) floor before going to their destination floor. I conducted this experiment by taping the sign to the inside of the elevator, right above the floor buttons, and then waiting on the ground floor to see who actually followed the directions and went down before going up. To document my findings, I took pictures of some of the people who fell for my trap, and also wrote down several interactions I had with disgruntled people who wanted to tell me how they felt about this.

Although many Dada artists embraced the idea of intervention and disrupting everyday society, I was largely inspired by the UK artist “Banksey”. Banksey is the operating name of an extremely well known interventionist in the UK who became famous for his massive amount of graffiti stencils that often depicted the flaws in society. I first became introduced to Banksey over spring break when my mom and I watched “Exit Through the Gift Shop” together, an amazing Indie film that not only documents the work of the mysterious “Banksey”, but also furthers his agenda as the film itself is simply another one of Banksey’s ingenious interventions.

Focusing more on how this assignment draws from what we have learned in class, I definitely drew a bit from the intervention piece that Chris Burden did when he laid on a table in an elevator with instructions to push pins into his body. I felt that his approach was maybe a bit too intense for me to try to replicate, especially since I wasn’t trying to challenge the nature of what we consider as art, so I went with something a little more reasonable and did my own little psychological experiment in a more mild manner. After coming up with this artwork-experiment idea, I sat down thought about whether I would have made the decision to do something like this before taking this class or whether I would have been opposed to the nature of a project like this. In thinking, I realized that so much of what inspired me to come up with this simple yet provoking intervention came from taking part in our class discussions and developing a more open mind about this kind of art.



I documented my intervention in two main ways: 1) I waited on the basement (ground) floor and took pictures of some of the people who actually followed the fake instructions. 2) I rode in the elevator as an anonymous spectator with groups of people coming back from class and took notes on some of the main points of conversation surrounding the sign.


**See attached files**

Convorsation Notes:

“This is so stupid, the elevator works fine.”

– Clare from 4th floor


“This can’t be real. Does anyone know if it actually is? Should I just push 3rd floor or should I actually go to the basement…? ~Seeking approval from rest of group in elevator~

– Nick from 3rd floor


“Walker this is so something you would do oh my god can I get a picture of you next to it??”~Not knowing I actually made the sign~

– Emmie from 4th floor



Although I got a few people to follow my instructions and unknowingly give input on their feelings towards my intervention, what I ultimately learned from this project was that most people were so preoccupied with their phone or themselves that they didn’t even read the sign and just used the elevator as they normally would. This largely confirms my belief that for most people who take the elevator, the routing is so simple and mundane that it is hardwired into their system, and as a result these peoples’ thought process seems to shut off once they enter the routine and only resume once the “hardwired” routine has been completed. But what about those who were able to break out of this routine induced zombie-like state and actually read the instructions? I found that almost every person was disgruntled or upset by this change in routine, and most had no problem directing their anger to me once I told them that it was my sign and that the elevator in fact worked fine.



My project was to act as a doorman at an establishment that would not typically have a doorman. This concept came to me when my parents came up to Boston for Thanksgiving. They were staying in a fancy hotel, and regardless of the weather, there was a doorman standing outside. In my mind I couldn’t get over the strangeness of it. In my everyday life doormen are not a thing, and the formality of it was shocking to me.

For this assignment I stood in front of a CVS, in a full suit, for around 45 minutes holding the door open for everyone who came by, and greeting them kindly. I was unable to take pictures because I felt it would detract from the natural responses of people as they came by. I did however take notes in a small booklet. The quotes aren’t 100% accurate because I didn’t start writing until after the person had gone inside.

11:00 – I arrive and start standing in front of the CVS.

11:02 – The people working inside the CVS give me weird looks, but don’t come out to talk to me.

11:02 – First customer comes up, a man mid 30’s. He gives me an odd look, says “Thanks,” and shuffles inside.

11:05 – Man enters, ignores me.

11:14 – Man on phone walks in, gives me the stink eye.

11:16 – Women leaves the CVS, smiles at me and says “Have a nice day.”

11:22 – Older man, probably in his 70’s, comes up to me. Says I’m looking “dapper.” He asks me why I’m doing this, and I explain to him. He says it’s a wonderful idea. Asks me if I want anything from the store. I say sure. During this time 3 people left, and 2 went in.

11:31 – Man leaves, says “Thanks.”

11:33 – Women leaves, says “You too” when I say have a nice day.

11:37 – Nice older man comes out with a bag of chips. I thank him kindly, and he tells me to have a “Wonderful day.”

11:42 – Man enters, ignores me.

11:42 – Man leaves, looks at me and keeps walking.

11:46 – See cashiers talking about me again.

11:50 – Get bored and leave.


Artist statement.

I found this experience to be quite a dull one actually. I expected to get more interaction, and acknowledgment. Now that I think about it though I can’t remember really acknowledging the doorman either, at least not verbally with them. I was very happy with the interaction I had with the nice older gentleman. His conversation made the whole task worth it. He was so pleasant and warm, I wish I had asked him his name, I wouldn’t mind chatting with him again.

The inspiration for this project came from when my parents came to Boston for thanksgiving (as stated above), but I was also heavily inspired by Improv Everywhere’s No Pants Subway Ride. I was really interested in the contradictory formality. When you ride a subway in New York City (particularly during rush hour) you see lots of well dressed business men. I love the idea of having them juxtaposed with pants less people. My project was very similar in terms of the contradicting formality, only the roles were reversed.

If I was to do this Intervention again, I think I would degrade the location even further, say a gas station, and would also try to act more professional (not that I think I wasn’t professional enough, but I really want to accentuate the formality differences). I may also try it with an official doorman uniform.



Taxi Conversation Final

Get in a taxi cab and don’t get out until you have a had a conversation with the driver. People today are sucked in to their phones or more concerned about where they’re going that they don’t pay attention to what is around them on the way there.


I was very lucky that Fasten, an Uber like service, was doing free rides all weekend to promote their service, so I took advantage of that. You can  choose your destination not only by address but also by choosing a point on a map, so I was able to randomly choose a destination. Sound quality is not the best, and also started a bit after the conversation began.


Artist Statement:

Inspiration for this came from Linda Montano and Techching Hsieh’s Art/Life One Year Performance 1983-84. When reading about the work the main part that stuck out to me was that most of the art wasn’t witnessed by anyone except them. I wanted to do something that wasn’t a spectacle. I was very happy with the results, as I ended up having a great conversation with my driver and didn’t even realize how close we were to the destination until he asked if it was up ahead. If there is ever another free weekend of rides I would happily spend a day meeting new people like this.

If I were to place this game on Schrank Avant-Garde Diagram the I would put it in the middle top half of the Emancipation box. I feel that the game is more formal radical in the actions taken, as the rules of the game don’t make the person sit back and experience the game, they must put in effort. I feel the game is pretty political in idea, as the narrative is completely based on the player and what they do, and the game’s concept is based upon a common trend taking place in society today, while promoting to break that norm.

The Movies (Final)

For my intervention I plan on going to the movie theater.  I will pay for a random movie (the movie doesn’t matter). Once the movie starts I will bring out a book and read it throughout the film. Watch how the other movie goers and theater staff react to you reading a book instead watching the movie, which everyone expects.

Documentation: I went to see the 12:35PM show of the Young Messiah at the AMC Loews Theater because I expected there to be a fair number of people at the theater at noon time. I sat in the front row of the theater so that everyone in the theater could see me. I pulled out my book as the movie started and began reading. It was dark so I assumed that it would take other people in the theater some time to notice that I was reading a book. However, it seemed like the other movie goers were far more interested in the movie. I only observed three people who actually seemed to notice that I wasn’t watching the movie, but reading a book. There was a man who was sitting next to me that was the first to notice. He glanced over but did not seem surprised or seem to care at all. A few moments later he went back to enjoying the movie. Half way into the movie two old ladies left the theater. As they walked towards the exit they saw me reading.  They gave me funny looks, but did not question me about it. No one at the theater seemed to really care or notice, which was a little disappointing. I was expecting people to ask questions, but they did not.


Young messiah


Artist Statement:

The original concept for this intervention was to watch a Netflix movie at the movie theater. However, I realized that that would not be possible as the theater I was in did not have wi-fi. I wanted to do this because I thought it was interesting to see how people reacted to me interacting with a media at a setting created for the specific consumption of a different type of media. In any given social setting people have a certain idea of what is acceptable or the “norm.” I wanted to do the complete opposite of the “norm” and see how people reacted.

I was inspired primarily by the Dada artist who created art out of pre-existing things. I created something new out of a pre-existing process which is similar to what the Dadaist did. I was particularly influenced by Marcel Duchamp’s piece The Fountain. The Fountain was essentially a bathroom urinal that Duchamp sent to an art society contest. The society believed that the urinal was a joke and not really art so they rejected the urinal. The society was expecting more conventional forms of art such as painting or sculptures. However, Duchamp decided to do something unconventional and surprising. It inspired me to do something that was unexpected and unconventional. It inspired me to go against what the expected norms were and do something completely unexpected. In this case the expectation was to watch the movie, but by reading instead I went against the established norms like Duchamp.

Dead-word (Intervention Final)

  • Several people sit around a table.
  • They can have chitchat on any topics or play any board role-play games.
  • However during the whole process, people cannot say the “Dead words” of  “like”, “so”, “well”, “yes” or “no”. This rule is flexible which can be set up particularly for the game you are playing. For example, people cannot say “kill”, “wolf”, or “dead” in a Werewolves game.
  • Whenever a player says one of those words, other players should shout out immediately and pause the game/conversation, and that person has to be punished(sing a song/dance/do push-up) or be dead in the Werewolves game.
  • If a player shout out mistakenly, that player will be punished.

In the playtest, 12 of us played the Werewolves game as the basis. After several rounds when people were perfectly familiar with the rules, we decided to apply this Dead-Word game to the original game.

The new rule was that, if one said the dead-words of “kill”, “dead” or “wolf”, his/her on-going speech would be interrupted immediately and he/she could not vote in that round. The process was really funny. People spoke incredibly slowly in a twisted way in order to avoid the punishments. All of the players were Chinese however I asked them to speak English during the whole game, and they actually did at the beginning. But when several punishments had occurred, they became more and more nervous and some of them started to speak “Chinglish”. Meanwhile the result of the game was dramatically changed because many villagers lost their voting rights during the “daytime” thus they lost the game even when they had a huge superiority.

I chose this game as my intervention work because the Werewolves  is a game about talking. When the general ways of talking are forbidden, the whole game will be influenced include both the processes and the results. The interventions will make people uncomfortable and it will be quite funny to listen to people talking slowly in a strange way while using weird vocabs.

The inspiration was drawn from the art pieces by several performance artists including “Lord Napier in Red Tape” by Eleonora Aguiari and the “Fountain” by Marcel Duchamp. Those art pieces inspired me indirectly by letting me think about what would happen when a object you are familiar with suddenly changed. That is, habits are actually more powerful then people think. If you pay attention to what happens around you, you’ll figure out that many things actually happen in the exactly same order from day to day. For example every morning I get up, brush teeth, wash face and go out. It looks normal however if one day someone tells me that I must wash face before brushing teeth, I’ll actually feel very uncomfortable. Thus I designed this Dead-word game in order to change people’s habit of talking and to see what will happen after then. Those interventions can sometimes make some people uncomfortable, but when people get the idea they may have a new thought on their daily life. No matter it is visual art, language art or performance art, creating interventions is always a good way to let people think about the existed world and how we can change it.

Project 3: Intervene

A lot of my spare time at this point goes to an online game many of you have probably heard of called League of Legends. League is a fairly divisive game with people either seeming to really love it or really hate it, both sides with little justification or reasoning behind their arguments. One thing that cannot be denied however is that the League community can at times be angry, toxic, and sometimes literally the worst people you can encounter on the planet. Due to the highly competitive environment even when playing with friends, this can lead to a fair number of arguments and with that it is always nice to have a way to cool off. Though there are other alternate games modes already in place, as well as some others created by the community, my friends and I have come up with a few games of our own, namely Blitzcrank Hide-and-Seek.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.20.07 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-20 at 9.20.25 PM

As shown above, Blitzcrank is a robot character who’s defining feature is its ability to use an extending arm to grab other champions as well as minions etc. and pull them to him. Effectively the game is for people to run around the map in selected areas where they can hide, and one person as Blitzcrank tries to find, and successfully pull them. Generally this is played as a team of 1 vs a team of 3-5 players, with the seeker needing to pull each person 3 times over a period of 45 minutes to get them “out.” This has been a fun way for me and my friends to relax after a long game and create an intervention in the way League is played.


This is related to what we have learned so far in the class due to the nature of the game itself. In a way this is working with the idea of the previous project through appropriating the medium of League of Legends and the folk game hide and seek, but is also working with the idea of working with found objects namely the already created concept of the champion Blitzcrank and how his mechanic could be applied to another situation.

Through my testing I have learned that effectively the game serves its purpose. League of Legends can be stressful for serious players which is why there is so much “salt” in the community. Blitzcrank Hide-and-Seek creates a friendly, safe environment for players to have a chance to cool down but also continue to practice and improve. The one downside however is the ability for players to cheat. As this is not an official game mode players are able to basically ignore almost any of the rules as the only thing holding them to the ruleset is the honor code. Although it would be nice for this to become an officially sponsored mode, that is both unlikely and in a way counterproductive. The purpose of this game is to be in a way non-competetive. The second something becomes official however people begin to place value in the game mode — a meta is formed, and then the “just for fun” attitude dies.

My inspiration for this game comes from the origins of the MOBA genre. MOBAs began as a creation in the sandbox mode of Warcraft, and eventually evolved into their own separate and incredibly successful industry.  This takes from the MOBA idea by creating a game within a game using the tools provided to you by the parent company.

TCoS street Evangelism

The idea behind “The Church Of Smart” was to use practice of how church will practice street evangelism by giving out pamphlets to people passing by on the street. Often times people are annoyed by the handouts and will quickly throw them away or not accept them as all as they expect it to be the normal religious information that they are not interested.

I decided to make a pamphlet that would have information that was not religious at all, and would have pieces of information or tips that could interest people, or that they would find funny.

My pamphlet was for The Church Of Smart, or TCoS.



I chose a location on the street to do my “evangelism” near a church and between to trash cans, each within about 50 feet, I also did this on Sunday. I did not have video or photographs because I was by myself and I felt holding a camera could have had a poor impact on what I was trying to do, people seeing a camera would emediate you realize I was not just a normal street evangelist.

Inspiration draws directly from the idea in Dada that the focus of the artists was not about creating visually pleasing objects, but on creating art that conflicted with social norms, and generated questions about how society functioned.

Using handouts is also rooted in the movements heavy use of print, and things that could be mass produced.

Final Iterations: Intervene

Feed the Soul

For this project, there were no changes from the first to the final iteration.  This is just a documentation of the project, along with some picture proof, and the artist statement.

So the intervention was to dress up as a “pigeon” and to feed people’s souls. By that I mean to enrich people’s lives, or somehow make them brighter, if for just a moment.  The way I would do this is by dressing up, and then distributing pieces of candy that have nice notes written on them.

This is me in the bird costume (ignore the messy room):


I was going for a simplistic design, and the word  pigeon was written to really get my point across.

This was my feed bag that was filled with candy:


I wrote feed because it reminded me of bird feed bags, but here it’s people feed.

What I gave out were these pieces of candy:


They are starbursts wrapped in notes, which I would hand out notes and handfuls of just starburst.

There were many more notes than pictured here:

Various things from; “You’re awesome”, to “If you were an apple I’d pick you”, “You are unique, never forget that”, and just many more compliments and words of encouragement.

I went to Curry and the library. On the way there I bumped into some people, and the first person I met, I made him take a picture with me, he was confused until I told him it was an art piece:


Then I took selfies in Curry and the library:



I changed my shirt into something warmer,

And then I walked around and interacted with people,

I tried not to anger anyone and wasn’t able to take many photos

At the library on the first floor, there were two kids who wanted to take pictures with me which was awesome:



They asked me what I was doing, and I explained that it was an art piece in a game design class. In return I asked them for their thoughts on the notes, and the candy. They were happy to receive candy, and the kind notes made them smile, which made me really happy, the overall goal of this intervention being the spread of happiness.

I didn’t get to stop and chat with every person I gave candy to. But regardless there were many people who said thank you. I got a lot of looks of confusion, and once people read the notes, they smiled and then kind of went on their way. People who were just walking by either rejected me and didn’t take the candy, or said quick thank you’s and continued on. A group of girls were sharing their notes and laughing about it. All in all, I think this was a two way intervention. I intruded into people’s lives for the moment and hopefully made it brighter for a bit, and at the same time people being happy, made me happy.

For this work I was influenced by several different artists and groups. In some ways I was influenced by Yoko Ono and her performance art. She brought the audience directly into her art, and in a way I did a similar thing, except I brought the art to the audience. Also, I feel what I did could have been a score that came from her book Grapefruit. I also like to think that Keith Haring somewhat influenced me, with the subway drawings he did, which in a way brightened people’s days without being too intrusive. My goal was to add something to people’s lives, be it a smile, a laugh, or even just positive thinking.  Also groups like Improv Everywhere and the Yes Men definitely inspired me with their outlandish idea’s and interventions that really pushed the envelope. There was also a comedian, and I would argue, artist, Remi Gaillard, who did many different stunts that include animal suits and all kinds of antics, and I feel that subliminally I could have been influenced by his work. I think that the culmination of many different interventions led me to want to being joy to others, while doing it in an off-beat maybe funny way.

The Official Declaration of Uncertainty

IMG_1717 IMG_1720

For this piece, I made a sign declaring that truth is unknowable and that people should stop attempting to understand the world.  The goal was to directly interfere with people’s assumptions about what they were capable of understanding.  While the sign did get a few glances, it is not surprising that almost nobody completely stopped to read it, nor did they visibly care about its message.