Benjamin2009-09-16
Part V: Small and Clever
On the other end of the spectrum were the little pieces that, despite not having a flame cannon attached to them, were notable for their clever execution. In a way, I preferred these pieces to the fire-breathing giraffes because they had more to say than \"Holy Crap!\". One night as I was walking over to the Crazy Dance Camp side of the city (around 2 o\'clock Street) at night in the middle of a gathering dust storm, I came across four metal poles, about seven feet off the ground, roofed by a wire mesh. Suspended from this mesh were seven or eight full business suites--the jackets connected to the mesh by wire, and the pants sewn onto the jackets. They were allowed to hang freely, and also to blow in the breeze.

In fact, they had been constructed such that any breeze would partially inflate them, adding a bit of weight to the empty suites, and would also cause them to flutter back and forth. As I came upon them, then, in the dim light of the evening and the dust storm they looked exactly like a group of mad salarymen all running away as quickly as possible. All running, and yet all remaining in exactly the same place. This is what I mean by small and clever art--for the price of a few second-hand suites and a metal structure, there was a haunting, visceral commentary on the rat race, ghostly forms forever running and never going anywhere.

My camp mate Osc (short for \"Oscillator\") had another small but effective piece in the middle of the desert. It was a little booth with a solar panel and a few rows of buttons, like a complicated arcade game. The buttons were colored green, yellow, blue and red, and there were no further instructions. Each button generated a pure note, which was then fed through a ping-pong echo effect, so that you could push a button and then hear the echoes left, then right, then left. Each color represented a set of notes in a particular scale, but the person playing with the device didn\'t need to know that. They just happened upon it and began hitting buttons, figuring out for themselves how to make music with it.

On my way back from playing with Osc\'s device I happened across another art piece, Mikey\'s Hug Deli. This was a little shack with the day\'s specials on the outside wall, and 8x10 glossy endorsements on the inside, each one \"signed\" by a satisfied celebrity. Behind the counter stood Mikey, with an engaging smile and a bright orange apron. The specials ranged from \"Warm and Fuzzy Hug\", to \"Long, Uncomfortable Hug\", and the price was two compliments. I ordered a Bear Hug, and told Mikey that he had a very pretty apron and a great idea for a deli. It wasn\'t the best Bear Hug I\'d received (Jason Eberhardt can lift me full off the ground, after all) but it was very nice indeed! (Photo by Mikey, I guess)

Another theme camp I went to had a couple tiny carnival rides set up. There was a zip line running across the front of the camp, and one person would climb onto a seat suspended from it while their friend took hold of a long rope and pulled them back and forth as quickly as possible--perhaps it was more fun than it sounds. They also had a swing set / merry-go-round, with four swings attached to arms from a central hub. On chair also had a set of bicycle pedals, allowing one of the riders to power to ride.
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