For my third major project in both my Intro Studio class and Intro Seminar class (Bridge 3) I was tasked to meet up with my collective “The Mavericks” and come up with an idea for an art installation in Washington Square Park (that dealt with its history or certain aspects of its culture and aesthetics) as well as a “Manifesto” for ourselves that could define us as a whole, as well as who and what we represent. As part of the project(s), we as a group had to meet up and read examples of other manifestos throughout history as a “springboard” for our own Manifesto, and also had to collaborate as to what we wanted to do for our art installation. In the beginning, individual members in our group, including me, had conflicting ideas as to what our installation could be. Some of us had ideas that were original, but too time consuming, risky, impractical, and “extreme” (in the sense that they could be misinterpreted quite easily), others in our group had somewhat unoriginal ideas that were too literal. In any case, we bounced from category to category of ideas, and went through multiple iterations and concepts, and ended up discarding them for one reason or another. One of our more interesting ideas was to build a sort of makeshift door that would be used to represent the park as a “home” for local homeless people (referring to current events in the Park)– a component of the installation being that we had to interview homeless people in order to get their names and their approval for the project. This is one of the many ideas we ended up discarding for multiple reasons: 1) The day we went to the park to interview homeless people, it was too cold in the park, and so there weren’t any people sleeping on benches. 2) Interviewing the homeless had its own risks, due to the possible mental instability or disinterest of the homeless in general (or problems in communication due to drugs or emotional issues). After much debate, we all compromised on an art installation that would be a sort of absurdist/aesthetic take on the park as a whole (in this sense, we meant to change the way people thought and perceived their environment, in this case, the Park, by inserting certain objects or ideas, using the entire park as a whole, that would be deemed ironic, funny, or “out-of-place” so as to cause a “disruption” in the norm). The art installation we all agreed upon was a collection of signs that would be placed in different areas of the park that would be seen as out of place, funny, or ironic in their messages (signs that would communicate a sort of pun or something people wouldn’t expect a sign to communicate– to make them think of their environment). We all used Photoshop and Illustrator to create the signs, and members of our team installed them Wednesday morning or Tuesday night (in order to prevent them from being stolen after being left out for too long) as well as glossed them (for realism). Below are pictures of all of our signs and some of where we placed them in the Park. Below is also our Maverick Manifesto, which bears associations with the signs in general in the sense that our goal was to “break the norm”.
THE MAVERICK MANIFESTO:
We are the intrepid sailboats that beat against the stormy currents,
We are the visionary sailors that see the eye amidst the typhoon,
We fear not being artistic vagabonds, or unorthodox miscreants,
We fear not venturing beyond our society’s cocoon.
The idea of following mundane ideas and traditional norms
They elicit silence in our sleep
The feeling of artistic freedom
Oh how it makes us want to weep
Our words, sharp-tongued, break the veil,
Our pens and brushes the stifling paper,
Our hands hoist upwards the chromatic sail,
Our vessels of vision never waver.
Though the dismal sea stares at us from beneath,
With contempt and scorn at our divergence from the fleet,
We fixate on it back, resisting the temptations of Lethe,
Never forgetting what makes us one, whole, and complete.
The bright moon in the deep night fuels our robust ambition,
The evening star in the ether blends our fierce passions.
Together we become a supernatural creation ready to engage in war,
Our minds harmonize together, each an instrument in our symphony.
The unity that brings us together
The fight we experience forever
The contrasting ideas that seem to pull us apart
End up enmeshing us into one beating heart.
We are akin to the man who stepped into the room of his teacher,
Like the man that beat him to death for his final lesson.
Defiant, we have burned the tongues of all the preachers,
And have let the children live out their obsessions.
And when all was said and done, when justice was wrought,
The children and the poor all felt power in their chests.
They put down their guns, having received the freedom they sought
And made peace with their demons, amidst their bohemian quests!