'Following "The Man of the Crowd"'
A co-located 24-hour following piece
Conducted by Glowlab's Christina Ray and Lee Walton in conjunction with Spectropolis: Mobile Media, Art and the City, a three-day event [October 1-3, 2004] in Lower Manhattan that highlights the diverse ways artists, technical innovators and activists are using communication technologies to generate urban experiences and public voice.
Date: October 2 - 3, 2004
Time: 10am - 10am
Location: starting at Doma Café, 17 Perry Street at 7th Avenue; end location unknown
'Following "The Man of the Crowd"' is a 24-hour walk in which two participants, linked by text messaging, drift separately through the city in an alternating pattern according to the movements of strangers. Based loosely on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Man of the Crowd" and inspired by Vito Acconci's 1969 "Following Piece," Ray and Walton have developed a collaborative performance that involves following strangers over a 24-hour period. Working as a team connected only through text messaging, the two will alternate turns following selected strangers through New York City.
While one participant is "following," the other participant is resting, or "not following." When the first participant's stranger becomes "un-followable," by entering the private space of a building or taking a taxi, for example, a text message is sent to activate the second participant who locates a new stranger to follow. The two participants, Ray and Walton, will enact this alternating cycle throughout the 24-hour period. While "on" they'll maintain an intense awareness of a single stranger and his or her unknown destination. While "off," they'll rest and experience their present location. The switch from one participant to the other will be determined by the actions of the strangers, and may be exhaustingly rapid or frustratingly slow.
Spectropolis visitors and the public are invited to participate in the project by signing up to receive text messages, sent once per hour, broadcasting Ray and Walton's locations. Sign up here: www.dodgeball.com/spectropolis. From this information, spectators will be able to follow the progress of the project and – if they are in the right place at the right time – possibly even become involved as strangers to be followed.
The duration of the 'Following "The Man of the Crowd"' project is not only a reflection of Poe's story of obsession and endurance, but is also an expression of Ray and Walton's desire to experience the city and its residents at all hours. Their hope is that strangers will lead them down paths never before taken as they weave a complex double route of randomness facilitated by the silent signals of mobile messages.
About the artists:
Christina Ray is a Brooklyn-based artist, curator and the founder of Glowlab, a community exploring psychogeography in relation to contemporary art. Ray produces projects, events and exhibitions and publishes Glowlab's web-based magazine at http://www.glowlab.com.
Lee Walton is an Artist whose projects and performances are playful, precisely calibrated and deeply attentive to the everyday patterns and rhythms of contemporary city life. Walton has exhibited, lectured and lead projects both nationally and internationally. His projects can be viewed at www.leewalton.com.
For additional information, contact Glowlab: info [at] glowlab [dot] com, or visit the Spectropolis website.