Artwork #3: Intervene

Justin Brady Intervention Project: Reverse Trick or Treating

For my intervention, I decided to take advantage of the season and do something Halloween-y. My girlfriend (who helped me with this project) and I decided that it could be fun to do a twist on Halloween standards and instead knock on people’s doors and give them candy.  We went down to Marlborough Street around 6pm. Things were already underway when we arrived, as there were already a few groups of trick-or-treaters wandering around.  We went up to a couple of stoops with people giving out candy, but each time the people politely refused our free candy. Which is weird, right? Isn’t that what halloween is all about? But eventually we both realized that no one would take candy from strangers, so instead we took a break on an empty stoop, with out candy buckets unfortunately full. Soon, though, people came up to us saying “trick or treat.” So we decided to change our plans and just started giving candy away at some stranger’s empty doorstep. After about two hours (and a fair few greedy children), we had depleted our candy reserves, and headed home, satisfied in our semi-success.

The original intent of the intervention was to cause some people to have a bit of unexpected fun on halloween, by receiving candy rather than giving it for once. However, we quickly realized that people didn’t really want to go along with that, so we shifted gears and adapted to the opportunity afforded to us. We were inspired by those prank videos where people carry around a door with a sign that says “please knock.” The door-holders would knock on a house’s door, then when the homeowner opened the door, they would see another door, knock on it, and the people carrying around the door would pretend the homeowners were trick-or-treaters and give them candy. We tried a version of that but without the door, just straight face to face offerings of candy. I’m a little surprised and upset that it didn’t work out, but I guess adults know better than to take candy from strangers. Which is really peculiar when you think about it, because they usually don’t have a problem with sending their kids out to do the same.

Nico Ulloa Intervention Project – University Hospitality Concierge Something

 

For my intervention project I set up a little “booth” on the ISEC bridge and put up some parodic posters of the University Health Counseling Services– my booth was the “University Hospitality Concierge Something” and was labeled “the doctor is in! 15 min for $70k.” The purpose of this intervention was to protest the lack of funding for the UHCS and how it affected students, with many rarely being able to schedule any consistent help for more than a couple 15 minute sessions. This seems especially egregious to me considering the incredibly large tuition fees students pay, close to $70k a year , and the University spending millions on other projects, including the ISEC and EXP (ISEC II) project, the former of which cost $225 million. I chose the bridge as the perfect representation of these excesses– it has since come to my attention that the bridge is part of the EXP project and not the original $225 million, but it’s still part of Northeastern’s ludicrous redevelopment master plan that totals at $1.9 billion.

My initial version of the intervention was a booth set up in the middle of the ISEC bridge, with volunteers lining up in front of it down the steps. I thought this would create a staggering visual that would drive the point home but quickly ran into problems when it came to practicality– apparently, the ISEC project has a history with protests, primarily the group DivestNU, which was received incredibly poorly by the university and students alike. This, alongside the nearby NUPD presence, made it very difficult to get volunteers. Other concerns that came up were accessibility issues.

As such, I restructured my project to just be the booth on the side. I stayed there from 1:30 to 3, joined by a couple of friends. The reaction to the booth was varied. Most people looked at our booth and seemed apathetic, others looked at it and seemed confused, a number of people smiled or laughed it, and a few people approached us to talk. While it’s improper to judge on appearances alone, we noticed there were some clear divides in reaction by gender/race. For instance, the preppy white males we saw almost always reacted negatively, and looked visibly upset and international students almost always looked confused. Perhaps most notably all of the people that actually interacted with us were either female or people of color.

Interestingly enough the people that approached us seemed to buy into a “roleplay;” we joked about a $70k IOU and they started venting about their problems, even though we were total strangers. It seemed reminiscent of the Five Day Locker Piece, where people simply felt comfortable talking about their lives because of the redefined context of interaction, even if the person was just a random artist (C. Carr, On Edge). I feel these couple of interactions would have been impossible with the large line I originally intended, and so I think that having to restructure the piece made it more successful in the end.

Pacifist Apex Games (Intervention Project)

The goal was to take a highly competitive first person shooter battle royal game and see if I could make peace with the enemy. 

Game: Apex Legends

In apex Legends, you can only hop into matches in groups of three. I took two of my friends together to hop into matches and tried to find groups to make peace and would hopefully let us live or spare us. We had a few encounters that led to probably seconds of peace but then me and my group were terminated.  We kept trying and trying and getting interesting interactions. I noticed many players had a tendency to panic when they encountered my group although I was trying to get their attention by using non lethal methods. I was able to use a specific character named Pathfinder who has a special ability to deploy a zipline anywhere on the map.  I spotted another squad so I took the zipline and launched it at them to get their attention. Once they spotted me they started shooting at me however they all stopped when they spotted my character spamming the crouch button over and over. Crouch spamming is the only way I could think to show signs that I was trying to be friendly. The video below shows the brave attempt from Graham, Jake, and myself.  It went about as chaotic as you would expect.

The Inspiration for the Intervention project came from two places when I played the Halloween event in which the game starts as a free for all but as players get eliminated they get turned into “Shadows.” the final 10 players must work together to escape the map vs the 20 or so Shadows that are out to kill the players.  During the initial phase of the game i encountered someone trying to not kill me by crouch spamming and showing signs that they did not want to fight me but survive together all the way through.  We ended up working together to get far in that match.  I’ve tried doing their method later on in the Halloween event and had one successful encounter. I figured why not try it in Apex’s main game mode of 3 squads BR.

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: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1v1vcH1q1BEgm8c5fNSLAC0_iBGCB4hZw

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.

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.

Isec

Ryder

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.

Intervention Piece- Free Conversation

Artist’s Statement:

My work, “Free conversations”, was heavily inspired by the popular intervention piece “Free Hugs” and a piece called “Free listening” that I saw while visiting a friend at MIT. The goal of my piece was ultimately to have a conversation with a stranger, to produce a normal social interaction in a strange way. This goal has been achieved by both the “Free Hugs” and “Free listening” works, in which a sign is used to do such, with the normal social interactions being hugs and listening respectively. I took this concept, and expanded it to a different interaction: conversations. Conversations in general are a good way to engage and learn more about other people, and thus the “Free conversations” game was born. The format of the idea followed that of its predecessors, consisting of primarily just a sign with writing advertising the “product” being distributed. In addition, I’d say there was a little bit of influence from the Jejune institute which we studied in class. The Jejune institute was an ARG in which players encountered and took part in these strange public displays, such as the protest against Octavio and the phone dance scene. Both of these parts of these games are intended to encourage playfulness in the public arena while also providing an entertaining scene for those watching. Ultimately, “Free conversation” also acted as a bit of a spectacle, since the “free social interactions” concept has become quite popular, and thus people will get some entertainment out of it. The concept of someone walking around with a sign is in itself funny, and ultimately it did entertain people. Many people who didn’t directly engage in conversation with me, engaged either by taking pictures or just laughing at the sign. Interestingly, we talked in class a bit about how interventions could be used to entertain someone going about a menial process, such as waiting in a line. Ultimately we decided that rather than just standing around with the sign, we would walk with it, which played into this concept as many people who decided to engage in a conversation were just walking to or from a club meeting, and seeing a guy with a “free conversations” I’d like to think made their day.

Documentation:

The poster I made for the intervention:

Me, at the start of the intervention, standing in Curry with the sign, waiting for my first customer:

My first customer, we had a nice conversation about politics, though we both didn’t really know that much about politics. We mainly discussed the impeachment process and we both agreed that we weren’t fans of Trump:

My second customer, Hannah, who I knew from NUTV. She saw me with the sign and decided to come over and talk. We conversed about Thanksgiving and food in general as she was on her way to eat dinner. She told me her favorite Thanksgiving food is cranberries:

My third customer, he was on his way over to play the fourth floor to play pool with one of his friends, but saw me  and wanted to stop by and talk. Before he came up to me, he had been working on some complex probability homework as a part of his engineering major:

This girl came up to me to take a picture of the sign. I asked her if she wanted to have a free conversation, but she told me she couldn’t because she was running late for a club meeting:

My next customer and I had a lovely conversation about Kanye, who I don’t really know that much about, except that he has a new line of really weird merch which people have been talking about. I asked him his opinions on it, and he told me he would only wearing clothing if it looked good, not if it was a special brand:

We had a brief conversation since the guy came up to me to talk, but the girl yelled at him because they were having a conversation. It was pretty funny:

In this picture, I’m talking with my next customer named Katherine, who saw me and really wanted to chat. We talked a bit because she was running late for a club meeting as well. She mentioned that she had seen a lot of similar interventions in like NYC (like Free Hugs), but that they weren’t that good, so she was happy to see something similar here in Boston:

These three guys were promoting something for a club, and when they saw me, they wanted to talk about making bread by hand, which was very random yet very interesting.

These two guys were in Marino and they were skate boarding by. The guy on the right asked me if I knew how to skateboard, and I told him I didn’t, but that it was interesting. He said he didn’t want to talk if it wasn’t about skateboarding, so he told me he’d be willing to teach me, and I gave him my Instagram. It was very odd.

My final client was a student named Christian who’s from my hometown and is really close with my brother, but I hadn’t seen him while at Northeastern. So we had a brief conversation in Blackman, catching up on everything.

Pranav Gopan – Artwork #3 News in Runescape

Something that has always fascinated me is bringing the real world into the digital space. Thanks to the many MMORPGs out there, people can communicate via text or voice chat in different game worlds. Some use communication for strictly game purposes, such as completing tasks or missions. Others enjoy the social aspect of it. In worlds meant for slaying dragons and collecting jewels, you may find parties with players dancing and talking leisurely with one another. And of course, there are those who don’t use communication at all. For my project, I wanted to explore an aspect of communication that isn’t frequently used in video games. In the real world, we learn about what happens outside our homes via the news. It’s important to stay updated, as what happens outside can have a direct impact on our own lives. When we play video games, we immerse ourselves in the game world. Despite the joy that comes, it’s important to stay grounded from time to time.

I created a score that involves the following steps.

  1. Choose an MMORPG.
  2. Enter a game world with a decent amount of players.
  3. Customize your avatar so that it is bright and noticeable.
  4. Open a web browser and load different news sites and fact pages.
  5. Go back to the game world and find other players.
  6. Type out different news headlines and facts around them.
  7. Try to relate the topics to what is happening in the game world.
  8. Wait for a response.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to find a way to bring the real world into the digital. This score was how I did so. The MMORPG that I chose was Runescape. For an hour, I traveled to different parts of the game world and encountered various people. My main goal was to spark reactions from other players and possibly carry out conversations. At first, I would stand next to players and type out random news headlines. For example, one headline was, “Trump says Ukraine whistleblower must testify, blasts offer of written answers”. However, I did not get many reactions when I did so. Most people would walk away or not reply at all. After some time, I decided to try a different approach. There is a place in the game world with many cows and I found one player slaying them. I began searching for cow facts on my browser and typed them out on Runescape. After saying, “A cow will chew about 50 times in a minute”, I received my first reply. The other player responded, “Nope”. I wanted to keep speaking, so I typed, “Cows have great senses”. The other player responded, “You can’t tell me what to do your not my moo”. For me, this was a win. Though the conversation was simple, I at least received a reply. I continued my journey to an in-game ore field, where I saw a few players mining. I took this as an opportunity to search for real-life facts about fracking. After describing fracking in the game world, one player replied, “Really? Didn’t know that”. I felt happy at this moment. Mainly, it was because someone learned something new through the score.

From what I observed through this experience, players don’t enjoy listening to the news in game worlds. However, when performing long mundane tasks, such as slaying cows or mining ore, players are interested in listening to relevant facts. I can understand seeing how these tasks take up a decent amount of time and can get pretty tiresome. Having someone there to surprise you with knowledge might make the experience a little better.

Link to gameplay:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Mprj5S0Txsr8PJQ9DjQhEu9I06CXQySm