21 oktober 2011

Experiment, 05.10.11

As part of our thesis research, we were asked do think of an experiment that would make yourself experience something that one would otherwise not encounter easily. I considered this as being rather personal/intimate rather than consisting of some action that provokes a response from others. I presented myself with following questions:

How to experience a feeling of alienation in a public space? Or better, what does it take for me to feel alone in a space? 

The idea would be to put myself in an unfamiliar (or uncomfortable) position and to create a feeling of isolation. I chose Columbus Park in Downtown Brooklyn as the scenery for the experiment and brought along the following:

- mp3 player (to filter out sounds of the city)
- a small sketchbook and a pensil (to write down my thougths)
- Diana F+ Mini Point&Shoot camera (to document what I observed)
- Pentacon Praktica MTL3 SLR camera (to document what I observed)
- sunglasses (to avoid eye contact with bystanders)

With these items around my neck and in my pockets I sat down near the C. Columbus Statue at Columbus Park. I had decided to stop talking and ignore everyone around me. 11:29

I stayed there on the ground for about five and a half hours. Despite people trying to ignore me, I can assume they would find it rather strange for me to be sitting there. Because it was a sunny day, the park was pretty crowded. Still, I didn't find it hard NOT to pay attention to my surroundings and listen to music instead of the sounds of the park. Systematically I wrote down my thoughts. It was after about an hour or two when I started feeling anxious. What was I doing here?
It took another three hours before I started to feel agitated and was moving about nervously where I was sitting. It became harder and harder not talking to myself or somebody else and the frustration kept on building up. Someone on the benches not far from where I was sitting had been yelling at everybody. I wanted to yell back. At that point I decided to stop. 17:42

My final note: "I've had enough"

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