Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sociology Project II / Art Project VII

You will need:

a small digital video camera with a wireless connection, or an easily-hidden connection to a laptop computer
a baseball cap
a six- or twelve-pack of cheap beer
needle and thread
chewing tobacco
high-quality photographic paper (optional)

1. Locate attire which as nearly as possible approximates the clothing of a homeless person. (You may, if you like, locate an actual homeless person and offer to trade outfits or buy them a new outfit, though this may not actually work.)

2. Get about eight cans of beer and empty them (you may drink the beer if you are of legal age.). Place about 100 mL of water and a quarter-sized plug of chewing tobacco into each one, and set the cans outside in the sun for five to ten days.

3. Partially empty the cans and place them in a small plastic shopping bag. It's okay if some of the liquid remains in the cans, or sloshes out of them while you put them in the bag.

4. Spend about a week without shaving or bathing. Use some of this time to get your clothing dirty, sweaty, and torn.

5. Using the needle and thread, attach the video camera to the inside of your baseball cap. Make sure that the camera can be positioned so that it has a relatively unobstructed view of anything in front of you when you wear it, yet cannot be easily seen by others.

6. Go out into public in the full outfit, with the camera on and running, carrying the bag of cans, and record as much video as possible. Spend as much time as you can in public places, places of business, etc., and make a point of trying to look directly at people in the area. You may need to upload some of the video into a storage computer and then go out again. The more video you can shoot, the better. Approaching people directly may be helpful.

7. Return to your home, change clothing, shave, bathe, etc. Return any borrowed clothing to its owner(s).

8. Search the video for single frames of people's faces. Ideally, you want to catch people in the moment where they first notice you, when they are facing you directly (or as close to directly facing you as possible), and when the image is relatively unblurred. Alternately, frames in which people are beginning to turn away, frames in which you catch furtive glances, etc. may be used.

9. Save as many separate frames from the video as satisfy your standards for emotion, direction, and clarity.

10a. Edit these images together into a video where the images are looped together and change about every 1-5 seconds, OR,
10b. Print out these images on high-quality photographic paper and mount and display them.

11. Title your collection.