- Bluetooth/wireless speaker
- Song/meme of your choice
- Connect your laptop to the speaker and make sure to hide it in a reasonably obscure place
- When playing the song of your choice, leave the window open in full view and make sure it is no smaller than the video player
- Your screen brightness has to be no lower than 4 (on a mac)
- Play the song and only end it if A: you are ratted out by classmates, B: you are questioned by the professor, or C: the source is stopped.
For this assignment, my goal was to intentionally disrupt an established system/procedure with something that was lighthearted or otherwise inherently meaningless, but familiar and socially relevant enough to be funny. In essence, I wanted to break up the daily monotony of class (especially one that was 3.30 hours long) with a direct injection of laughter and general non-seriousness, relying on a somewhat shared generational sense of humor to optimally make light of a serious moment.
I had originally intended for this project to be competitive, and while I issued an open challenge at the end of my intervention, I am doubtful that many people would be willing to take it up. Class choice was important for this as well; I had to pick a class with a professor who wouldn’t take it too seriously, was full of class mates with a shared culture of media consumption, and had a similar/not too distant sense of humor.
This project most closely resembles some situationists’ tactical interventions, mainly situationist pranks and jests that served to subversively undercut what they considered oppressive establishments, corporate institutions, and top-down media broadcasts. One comparable example is the Notre-Dame Affair that aired on French national television in the 1950s where key members of the radical wing of the Lettrist movement (which has its roots in Dada and surrealism) hijacked an Easter Sunday sermon broadcast, “choosing a quiet moment in the Easter High Mass to climb to the rostrum and declaim before the whole congregation a blasphemous anti-sermon on the death of God, penned by Serge Berna.”
While my intervention was nowhere near as goal-oriented, subversive, or scathing, both instances were wholly disruptive, completely driving attention away from a previous focal point and towards this abrupt, curious interruption. They were both situations where the “soap box” or podium speaker that has harnessed the attention of the crowd was usurped by something entirely foreign to the audience and their setting. However, while the Lettrist intervention probably earned the contempt of many a French church-goer, mine seemed to positively influence the atmosphere of the room, making the experience feel like a transactional performance of sorts whereby I gained the audience’s favor in exchange for a curious happening and a good laugh.