For my intervention, I left a flock of origami cranes in a bush outside of East Village. Each of the cranes had a page’s worth of text from some well known piece of writing (Othelllo, A Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbit, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Pride and Prejudice, and My Immortal) printed on it.
In practice, the intervention sort of went how I wanted it to. At the end of about two and a half hours, I had quite a few cranes left. However, people did interact with the piece, sometimes in unexpected ways. Specifically, one person took one out of curiosity and left with it, two people took pictures of each other in front of them but didn’t take any, and one couple took them and unfolded them in front of the bush and read them aloud to each other (pictured below).
If I were to do another iteration of this intervention, I would like to do something to make it more obvious that the cranes are meant to be taken. One way that I would do that would be to use different colors of paper so that they look more temporary. I think part of the reason that many people looked at the cranes but didn’t take them was because they looked like actual garden decorations. I would also like to do this in a different location at a different time. I chose where and when I did because it was after most classes got out and people were less likely to be in a huge rush. However, I still think people were too caught up in their own worlds for the intervention to work fully.
My primary inspiration for this intervention was the pieces in the Dada and Fluxus movements that encouraged people to take pieces of the artwork, such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ Portrait of Ross. I wanted to people to experience the work and have something physical that they could take away from it. Hopefully, that would be something that would brighten their day (which was why I was sure to include Hitchhiker’s Guide and My Immortal).
I also wanted to play with appropriation, which was why I chose to use published works instead of generating my own text, I have generally found that finding a reference to something that you are already familiar with is more exciting than finding a random piece of text.