Monday, September 18, 2006

Conflux Festival - Thursday

When I arrived at the McCaig and Welles Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the opening of the 2006 Conflux Festival for contemporary psychogeography, I saw groups of artsy looking people gathered in two places; near the bagels and coffee, and near the door. As those by the door looked nervous and there was a police car outside, I assumed that somthing had been stolen, or that the gallery had been broken into. I spoke to the festival producers, and apparently the lock to the gallery had been glued over, preventing their entrance for some time. Eventually the lock was chisleled off, replaced, and the procucers gave a report to the police. We wondered if the crime was done by an angry artist who had been turned away from the festival or something.

After all of this excitement, I intorduced myself to the artist I was to interview, Sue Huang, and then discussed her project of street cut-ups. For the project, she walks around a neighborhood and cuts words out of posters and advertisements, then glues the words together to make a new, random message. The point of this is to make a statement towards the advertisers, saying that the practice of sending messages to consumers is a two way street, and that we have the right to use the words too.

As the morning turned into early afternoon and the number of people in the gallery dropped dramatically due to the rain, one of the producers asked me to document two people that were going to walk around the neightborhood and pick up garbage and other wayside materials in order to construct a "Brooklyn Desk." Though it was raining pretty steadily at that time, I said sure! because I had both my umbrella and rain jacket; I don't like being rained on. So, we wandered around the industrial and run down areas of Williamsburg, them picking up interesting things and discussing how they might bit together, me taking pictures and marveling at how lucky I was to be wandering around New York city in the first place. The area where we were was also incredibly interesting due to all the graffiti in amazingly bold colors and styles on the dilapadated buildings.

This project was a good thing for me to be involved with, because I got to see two sort of new age artists in the actual process of creating and conceptualizing, which I had not previously experienced. I think their project fits into the overarching festival theme of psychogeography because the motivation for building the desk came from wanting to be out in the neighborhood and get a feel for it; to see what occurs there, who lives there, and to make contact with all of it. Though a good idea, the raind prevented a lot of human interaction as there were not really any humans outside at that time.


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