Activate Your Creativity!

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

Nonlinear Poetry Write one line of a multi-line
poem in chalk on each street corner in a four-or five-block

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

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

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

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

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
10×10 (Spring/Summer 2002). Subscriptions:
$21/yr. (3 issues) from

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