Simple performances, interventions, and artistic adventures for everyday living
The situationists, an iconoclastic group of French leftist theorists, artists, and pranksters active in the late 1950s and '60s, pioneered a critique of capitalism that called not for revolution in some distant future, but imaginative acts of resistance, refusal, and mind-alteration in the present. Influenced by Dadaist absurdity and deeply interested in how the routines of everyday life dull our responses to the world, they carried out, among other things, absurd actions that derailed our expectations of how life is supposed to 'run.' In their spirit, here are some amusing, enlightening, and absurd actions, suggested by Twin Cities-based artist and curator Jo del Pesco, to make your day a little stranger -- and your life that much less stuck in the grooves of the 'way things are supposed to be.' -- The Editors
Nonlinear Poetry Write one line of a multi-line poem in chalk on each street corner in a four-or five-block radius.
Flowers to Strangers Go through the dumpster of a local flower shop, pull out the flowers that still look okay, and give them to strangers on the street.
Along the Lines Wear a pinstripe suit to work. In the middle of the day, cut along each line with a pair of scissors.
Guerrilla Farming Plant vegetables or flowers on a traffic island in the middle of a street.
Trail of Tears Attach chalk to several strings and let them hang from the back of your bike, marking your route.
Blind Meeting Start at the opposite end of a field from a friend. Walk towards each other with your eyes closed and see if you're able to meet in the middle.
Water Closet Hang a black-light poster in the bathroom of a gas station, and then install a black-light bulb.
Music for Telemarketers Learn to play a song using the number keys on the telephone. When a telephone solicitor calls, play it for them.
Hundred Flyers Stand on a street corner with 100 one dollar bills and try to hand them out as flyers. Count how many people ignore you.
Important Person Get a group of friends together, three or four with cameras and two or three with pads of paper. Go up to a stranger. Start shooting photos and ask for an autograph.
Mystery Aid Sneak into a friend's house and fold the laundry or do the dishes.
Junk Mail Echoes Do a drawing on a postcard-sized piece of junk mail and send it back.
Flag Planting Attach various colored flags to pieces of stiff metal wire that could work as flagpoles. Write cryptic messages on them and stick the flags into the ground in curious spots.
Couch Swap Trade furniture with your neighbor for one month.
Shower/Laundry Take a shower with all your clothes on.
Color Therapy Take down all the artwork in your living space and put up large rectangular blocks of a particular color. Try a different color each week and watch the change in your response.
Post-It Graffiti Write messages on Post-It Notes and stick them up around town.
Anonymous Leg Up Send unsigned letters to a younger person you know, giving them information that will save them trouble in the future.
Soft Cover Sew a fabric covering for a local park bench. Consider padding it like an old toaster cozy.
From the Situationist-flavored, Chicago-based art magazine 10x10 (Spring/Summer 2002). Subscriptions: $21/yr. (3 issues) from www.tenbyten.net