Month: November 2019

Intervention Art – Drawing on Every Board in Ryder

For my intervention, I choose to attempt to cover every whiteboard and chalkboard in Ryder Hall with drawings and words. As rules, we wouldn’t go into room that had other people in them, and we wouldn’t erase anything that was already on the board. I allowed anything to be drawn or written on the boards. Starting on a Sunday at 9:45, we started drawing as a big group covering as much of each board as we could. Team members would come in and out as they could, but in total we had around 15 people contributing to the project. Some rooms still had people studying in them, so we skipped those. We eventually filled all of the rooms on the first floor, excluding the ones with people in them, however when we began working on the second floor, the janitorial staff began erasing the work on the first floor. Because the intervention was no longer intervening the process we intended, we decided to stop the intervention early. Each member of the team drew independently and without specific instruction, though there were often collaborations during this. I thought this was important to the intervention to ensure that the message of creativity juxtapose with learning was at the forefront of the message. 


My initial intention with my project was to demonstrate how creative fields such as art, music, theatre, and dance are often seen as a distraction to supposedly more important and relevant fields like science and engineering. I was inspired by the absurdism of the Dada art movement and how they used exaggerated absurdity to question art itself. I wanted to use artistic expression in an exaggerated and absurd way to physically intervene in the process of teaching. I was also inspired by some of Banksy’s work wherein he uses the actual process of creating the artwork as part of its message. For instance some of Banksy’s graffiti work plays with the idea of not being able to stop his illegal graffiti as part of his message. One consideration we made while performing the intervention was to write in different forms the words: “Do not erase.” These words gave a sense of life to much of the absurd artwork, as if the artwork was speaking to the viewer. I found this quite similar to the repeating usage of “Dada” in the Dada artworks, whereby it’s repetition almost causes it to lose its inherent meaning. Overall the intervention was able to take inspiration from different intervention artists while still being able to use its unique medium to convey a unique message.


Intervention photos:

Elena Kosowski’s Intervention Project : Tim the Wish Doll

Tim the Wish Doll

One inspiration for my Intervention was the Barbie Liberation Organization, which were a group of artists that performed shopgiving on barbie and G.I. Joe dolls. They would change the voice boxes of the Barbies to say violent phrases and change the G.I. Joe dolls to say peaceful phrases. I wanted to run with the idea of a toy intervention, and to use either action figures or a Raggedy Ann doll. Eventually I decided to go with the Raggedy Ann.

The plan was to take a Raggedy Ann doll and place her in a location with a container, paper, and a pencil. She would also be placed with a note that read “My name is _____. Write me a letter and I’ll try to make it come true!”. The hope was that people would notice her and write a little letter. I was interested to see if people would really take the time to write a letter, and if they would be a serious or silly one. While I liked my plan, my growing concern was that she would be constantly ignored.

When I went to the store to find a doll to use, I couldn’t find a Raggedy Ann doll. Instead I found a sheep doll, which I named Tim. I thought Tim was the perfect choice because he was a good size and was very soft and cute. I was hoping his gentle appearance would be welcoming and encourage people to write open and honestly. I went shopping with my roommate, but she didn’t like Tim very much. She said that he seemed too bland and boring, and probably would get ignored. Because of this, I decided to give Tim a bright red bandana to make him stand out more.

I decided to pick my dorm as the location to perform my intervention in. It was a place I knew very well, and I believed it had a higher chance that people would participate. I also trusted the people in my dorm to not steal Tim. I first performed my Intervention on a Friday night and got terrible results. After leaving Tim in a common space for about three hours, I returned to find that he had received no notes. This was poor planning on my part. I forgot that on Fridays, most people in the dorm go out at night, or participate in several school clubs. The common room I had placed Tim in was completely deserted.

I tried again on a Thursday and received amazing results. Most people in my dorm are Computer Science majors and all take the same class: Fundamentals of Computer Science. The deadline for the weekly homework is always 6:00pm on Fridays. Because of this, a lot of people work in groups on the homework in the common rooms on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I placed Tim in one of the common rooms filled with people and left him there for another three hours. When I returned to pick him up, he had many letters written to him.

My roommate and I wrote three “seed” letters and left them with Tim to entice other people to write letters as well. I made sure the container I had to contain the letters was clear so people could see the letters inside. Other than this, I wanted to influence the responses as little as possible. This is also why I decided to not hover around Tim the entire time, in case I discouraged people from coming over. Minus the seed letters, Tim received eight other messages. All the messages were really nice. Some of the letters were funnier, and others were more genuine. A couple were written by stressed students complaining about the difficult homework assignment. Every letter was a really interesting read.

Tim’s setup in the common room:

The Seed Letters:

The Real Letters:

Message In a Bottle (Hastings)

While completing my score, I was taken to a town north of Boston called Lynn Massachusetts. From there I wandered until I came across a trailed forest called Lynn’s Woods. It was a pretty nice area in an otherwise unassuming town; unfortunately, however, the entrance was rampant with litter–predominantly glass bottles and cans. This was the inspiration behind my intervention: I decided to go back armed with messages to place in the bottles I found, hopefully to invoke enough curiosity for people to pick them up and dispose of them.

My first instinct was for the messages to include statistics on pollution, littering, and global warming–however, I feel that these numbers are already fairly well understood and those who choose to ignore them would not be easily swayed. It could be potentially more effective, I thought, to focus on communicating an appreciation of the natural space through some more obscure, potentially cryptic means. At the very least I wanted to create something odd and intriguing for someone to stumble upon.

Eventually, I arrived at the ‘Tao Te Ching’, an ancient Taoist philosophical text emphasizing nature through ‘the way’ (a loose translation of Tao). This particular text resonated with me for a number of reasons; firstly, it is delivered as a series of individual verses which could be separately appropriated into distinct bottles. Taoism also ties back to the class nicely through its connection to the creation of Fluxus–it is no secret that George Maciunas drew heavy inspiration from Taoist values (‘Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life’ pg. 8). Paradoxical understanding and opposites, among other things, are vital components of both Fluxus and Taoism.

I printed around three dozen translated verses and cut them out, binding them with rubber bands so they could be easily removed from the bottles without resorting to smashing them open. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately), when I returned to Lynn’s Woods I could only find a little more than a dozen bottles, so I chose my favorite verses and scrapped the rest.


It was raining while I was dropping off these messages, which put a bit of a damper on things. That being said, it was nice to not have to explain myself to any passersby. I haven’t yet returned yet to check on the bottles, but based on the turnover I saw between my first two visits I’m confident that they’ve caught at least one person’s attention.

Exquisite Caption (Hastings)

My appropriation game has four players using four panel comic strips in a ‘New York Times’ caption contest/exquisite corpse mashup. The materials are simple: each player requires only a writing utensil, and comic strips are provided with the text blanked out. Each player begins with a single strip, filling in the missing text of the first panel with anything they want. The strips are then passed around the table and the process is repeated four times at which point the strips will be complete with text.

The game draws heavy inspiration of course from exquisite corpse–although each player is able to see all of the panels and what has already been written, the prompt was naturally open-ended enough to create a similar feeling of freedom and creative liberty. I felt that allowing players to work with this continuity was an integral part of creating the experience I was after; some of my favorite strips produced in playtesting are displayed in this post. However, in true exquisite corpsian fashion the setup certainly didn’t deter some truly baffling strips more akin to Hugo Ball’s nonsense poetry than anything else.

After reading ‘The Well-Played Game’, I was also determined going into this project to rethink the competitive experience I was creating. It was hugely important to me that this game played in more of a couch co-op style where elements of challenge still exist, but the players are in direct collaboration in facing those challenges together. There is no winner, only a series of funny strips everyone was involved in creating.

I manufactured the blank strips by photocopying them out of treasury compilations, and later editing them digitally to remove the text. In the first iteration of the game, they were all from ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ (a personal favorite), but the game was later expanded to include strips from other treasuries I had on hand: ‘Peanuts’, ‘Pearls Before Swine’, and ‘The Adventures of Tintin’.

The inclusion of ‘Tintin’ was based on a recommendation by our guest playtester, who suggested I appropriate potentially controversial material in order to transform it–notorious for problematic representations of people of color, ‘Tintin’ seemed like a good choice to test this out. It raised some eyebrows in playtesting, but didn’t have a significant enough impact to warrant keeping it in the final game.


Artwork#3: Intervene

For my intervention I decided to have people from Isec and Ryder hall draw some robots. My idea first came up when we were talking about our intervention pitch for next week. I had a mix media art pad that I got for my 2d fundie class. I thought that I can have people draw stuff on it. The first idea that I had is having people from two location draw on the same paper. In the first location I would have people draw something cute and harmless on one side. Then at the other location I’ll cover the drawings on one side and have the people in the other location draw on the other. The prompt for the second group would be “draw things that will defeat the other side”. My idea is that people would draw dangerous and violent stuff that would attack the cute drawings. This is to demonstrate the idea of blindly follow direction. When thinking about the location I recall to when we played with the parachute. When we played the parachute in the common I saw a lot of people and some of them did participated. I thought maybe I can also conduct my intervention there too. During the intervention pitch meeting I had a second version of my idea. Coincidentally, we talked about a woman with a sign that says “draw on me” which is similar to my intervention idea. The second version will still involve two locations but the prompt will be the same for both locations. And the prompt will be vaguely worded to let the audience come up with their own interpretation. This way I can observe how people in two location think different and how the first drawing affects others interpretation. However, it is pointed out that this will heavily depend on the location. After many thought about the locations I decided to held it at Ryder and Isec hall. And the prompt must be relevant to both hall. Isec is more engineering and computer science centric hall. Ryder has more art and media students gather around. So I pull the two theme together and came up with having the people from the two hall draw robots. Students from Isec are familiar with robot and students from Ryder can express their creativity with drawings. My hypothesis before executing my intervention is that Isec students will draw more realistic robot like Roombas. And Ryder students will draw more creative robot like Gundam.

During Friday I decides to execute my intervention after game design. I looked around Ryder hall and noticed that there isn’t that many people, so I decide to go to Isec first. In Isec there were a lot of people studying and sitting around. So I stood outside the entrance where people would come and go. I held up my mix media with the word “Draw a robot of any kind” and marker to let people know that they can draw on it. People who walked by took a look at the pad before continue going. I waited for around 5 minutes standing like an idiot before someone came. It was a girl and she asked if she could draw. I answered yes and then she asked if this for a project and what class. A lot of people also asked this question. The robot that she drew is a conventional robot with boxing head and body and antenna. As time went by more people drew on the pad. In the end all the robot have a similar aesthetic in the form of a conventional robot. I believe that the first robot also influenced the others. The outlier is by a dude who’s with his friends, he drew the robot with the drill and whisk. Next is Ryder where I did it on Tuesday right before class. This time people are more willing to participate and I only have to wait aboutFff two minutes. The first robot is also a conventional robot however it’s more toy-like. It’s also the first time someone used more than one color in their robot. Then someone surprised me by drawing Doraemon which is a robot cat. The result was a lot different type of robots, people even drew laptop, car and claw. The last person participated asked if she could take a picture of the pad. She said that she have a similar project.

There is a lot of interesting result by comparing the two experiences and pictures. Students from Ryder are more likely to participate than Isec. I also noticed that in Isec, women are more willing to participate than men. Meanwhile, in Ryder both men and women have the same chance of participating. Everyone in Isec used only one color for their robot while 2 people used more than one color in Ryder. Ryder also has more unconventional robots, meaning that they think more outside the box. This has been a fun intervention and experiment.



Appropriation show and tell

  I decided to share a meme (at least appropriate for class) that was quite directly an example of appropriation mixing in media from the Spiderman Franchise. The video involved mixing in a few moments from Spiderman 2 movie, taking the famous “Funiculì, Funiculà” which was used in the Spiderman 2 video game when delivering pizzas in the game as a mission. The version of Funiculì, Funiculà that was used was played with an accordion.  It became a very popular meme many years for how derpy the song sounds while played through this instrument. I shall provide the links for each source. I feel memes are the best way to spread information to communicate among one another and by using material we can all relate to or know the references of we can do just that.  

The Main video:

Funiculì, Funiculà from spiderman 2:

JJJ’s Laugh:

Pizza Time!:

Show and Tell – Amaël de Betak

The game I chose for Show and Tell was Hollow Knight.

This choice was very simple for me to make as this was one of the only Indie games I got stuck into due to its beautiful old-school cartoon style, ambient music, and passive storytelling. The gameplay of the game itself is also something that kept me going as everything felt extremely fleshed out and smooth, giving it a quality even higher than that which can be seen in big studio games. The fact that all the DLC also come included in the game is incredible as it only costs 15 euros.

The extract which I chose to present was the descent into the abyss, which I thought was one of the most breathtaking moments in the story where the player truly understands their meaninglessness in the world’s story as they come across a large pile of corpses all resembling very closely the main character.

Appropriation – Amaël de Betak



My appropriation project came from the idea of making people create collaborative music using something that was not initially made to make music. I decided to appropriate a skateboard as the instrument as one of our guest speakers was telling us about his work which was all based around his habit of collecting toys. He took a look at Dylan’s longboard and started talking about the fact that the way he made art could be used for any hobby and used the skateboard example. Having tried to learn skateboarding since joining Northeastern and having already produced works using that aesthetic in 2D Fundamentals, I decided to try and use it for this project.

Another reason for the choice of the skateboard is that many people who do not skateboard themselves see it as an act of vandalism which tends to destroy the environment in which it is used. However, this is not the case, and skateboarding can even be considered as an act of appropriation in its self as it uses a pre-existing space and makes something new out of it by looking at it from a different angle.

My objective was to create procedural music through the use of a cadavre-exquis like approach where each participant would have to create a loop based on a metronome and the previous participant’s contribution using the skateboard. The previous loop acted as the end lines which are used in a cadavre-exquis to ensure coherence between the different parts.

My main inspiration from this piece was Duchamp’s The Fountain, as he uses an everyday object which many people would never associate with art and made one of the most recognizable pieces out of it. This idea of giving it a new life is linked to my own piece as the skateboard itself does not seem as though it could be used as an instrument, however, its different components all produce very varied sounds which could allow for diverse approaches when producing music with it.

I also took inspiration from the pieces Musical Chess and the Musical Tennis pieces as they also had this similar idea of creating music out of something which is not normally linked to it.

Overall, I was not entirely satisfied with the way in which the piece turned out as I came with the expectation that participants would use the different elements of the skateboard to create interesting sounds. However, they all took the same approach of using it as a percussion by knocking on the deck and scratching on its grip tape, even though I did show them the different possibilities prior to the recording.

Intervention – Amaël de Betak

My intervention consisted of having a friend and I playing a fighting game inside of the East Village elevators and inviting people to join us as they walked onto the lift. Our set-up was a chair in each back corner and a podium centered along the back wall, upon which the switch was placed with the spare controller.

The first objective of this score was to shock the people who would enter the lift, which was achieved through the choice of the environment in which the intervention occurred. The choice of the lift was made as, in East Village, students are forced to use them in order to get to their rooms or leave the building, meaning that there was a very high chance that we would run into people while intervening. We also decided to head into the lift at 20:30 as this was the time when most people would be using the elevators as they were heading either to or from dinner or the gym, for the most part, meaning there was quite a high amount of traffic. The shock factor was thanks to the fact that people do not really associate this means of locomotion to anything else than that, and therefore upon coming across people who were not using that space for that purpose, they could not help but be surprised.

The second objective was to give the people we came across a break from their day. Most students are busy for the majority of their days, and therefore giving them the opportunity to take a break felt like it would go well with the first objective of the intervention. In order to achieve this, we decided to invite them to join us in our game, allowing them to take their minds off of things for the brief time in which they were in the lift. Asking them to join us I think was crucial to get them to participate as I do not believe that anyone would have joined us of their own accord as the lift rides were too short for them to think of entering the game.

The inspiration for this intervention came from two different works. The first one was a piece by the Yes-Men, which we had briefly touched upon in class. I found their work very entertaining and therefore chose to look into more of their works in my free time. I found this intervention in which one of them faked being a member of a company which was linked with a chemical disaster and made a fake public announcement in which he said that the company would take full blame of the events and would help those affected by these events, which is the opposite response given by the real company. I felt like this was created in order to shock the audience as this is something people do not usually see as corporations usually look towards profit and simply try to put behind anything that could affect them negatively. This also created somewhat of a break from all of the negative news which we are fed on a daily basis and gave some sort of hope.

The other piece which I took inspiration from was the War Tweets intervention game which the creators had presented to us during one of our classes. The main point which I took from it was the audience participation, as the game could not really run if no one played it. I thought that bringing the audience into the intervention was somewhat necessary as it was don for them, and therefore making them take part in it would bring a whole new level of involvement.

Overall, the intervention was a great success. Many people decided to join us to play during their elevator trips, with some people even voluntarily missing their floors in order to play a bit longer. One person stayed as long as 15 minutes with us, and it reached a point where it felt like he was also a part of the intervention as he also invited people to join as they would step in before I would. Furthermore, I thought that even if people did not want to participate, I would still try to have an interaction with them in order to hopefully make their days a little better. The intervention had to end after an hour as an RA decided to kick us out of the elevators because we were apparently not allowed to have furniture inside of the lifts.