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Following The Man In The Crowd
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09 February 2016 5:48PM
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'Following "The Man of the Crowd"' was a 24-hour walk in which Christina Ray and I, linked by text messaging, drifted separately through NYC 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," Christina and I developed a collaborative performance that involved following strangers over a 24-hour period.

While one of us were following a stranger, the other was stationary and experiencing their present location. When the stranger could no longer be followed, a text message was sent to activate the other. This person then followed the nearest ambulatory stranger at that moment.  This alternating cycle was enacted for 24-hours.

The video above is the unedited raw footage.  During this experience, I cut my finger opening a can.  See the 5.10 mark in the above video.

 

"After 24-hours, we met back at the same spot. We documented our experience with still photographs, camera-phone photos and video of over 60 strangers 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 also an expression of our desire to experience the city and its residents at all hours".

 

Spectropolis visitors and the public were invited to participate in the project by signing up to receive text messages, sent once per hour, broadcasting Ray and Walton's locations. Originally through Dodgeball Service.  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 Spectroplis:

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.


About My Collaborator:
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.

"Following" text message stream

Lee (10.2 10:17 am): Go
Xina (10.2 10:23 am): Go
Lee (10.2 10:19 am): Go
Lee (10.2 10:21 am): Yes
Lee (10.2 10:27 am): Go
Xina (10.2 10:34 am): ok
Xina (10.2 10:37 am): go
Lee (10.2 10:32 am): Yes
Lee (10.2 10:46 am): go
Xina (10.2 10:53 am): ok
Lee (10.2 11:06 am): go
Xina (10.2 11:12 am): yes
Xina (10.2 11:23 am): Go
Lee (10.2 11:18 am): Yes
Lee (10.2 11:29 am): go
Xina (10.2 11:35 am): yes
Lee (10.2 12:04 pm): Go
Xina (10.2 12:11 pm): no. Just kidding. Ok yes.
Xina (10.2 12:16 pm): go. Sorry.
Lee (10.2 12:11 pm): Grrrr
Lee (10.2 12:20 pm): go. Sorry.
Xina (10.2 1:02 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 12:57 pm): Ok
Lee (10.2 1:16 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 2:19 pm): Go
Xina (10.2 2:26 pm): ok
Xina (10.2 2:32 pm): Forgot to tell u I found a dollar on the street.
Lee (10.2 2:28 pm): See, this project is paying off already
Lee (10.2 2:46 pm): U on?
Xina (10.2 2:53 pm): Yeah sorry!
Lee (10.2 3:08 pm): Go
Xina (10.2 4:01 pm): Go!
Lee (10.2 3:57 pm): On
Xina (10.2 4:04 pm): got it good I need a rest!
Lee (10.2 4:04 pm): I am sorry u r on
Xina (10.2 4:17 pm): ok...after I eat this muffin.
Lee (10.2 4:11 pm): I am sorry u r on
Xina (10.2 4:18 pm): ok
Xina (10.2 4:41 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 4:36 pm): OK
Lee (10.2 4:45 pm): Go
Xina (10.2 4:52 pm): dude. Ok.
Lee (10.2 4:47 pm): I am trying!
Xina (10.2 5:45 pm): Go.
Lee (10.2 5:40 pm): OK
Lee (10.2 5:50 pm): I am sorry u r on
Xina (10.2 6:34 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 6:29 pm): OK
Lee (10.2 6:40 pm): Go
Xina (10.2 6:47 pm): Already?! ;-)
Lee (10.2 6:42 pm): Sorry
Xina (10.2 6:48 pm): S'ok. I'm on it.
Xina (10.2 6:54 pm): Go.
Lee (10.2 6:50 pm): OK
Lee (10.2 7:06 pm): Go
Xina (10.2 7:15 pm): ok
Xina (10.2 7:35 pm): go
Lee (10.2 7:31 pm): OK
Lee (10.2 7:40 pm): I am sorry u r on
Xina (10.2 8:01 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 7:56 pm): OK
Xina (10.2 8:05 pm): go to bar K when u r done. 10th st./hudson
Lee (10.2 8:01 pm): See you in k
Xina (10.2 10:46 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 10:41 pm): Yes
Lee (10.2 10:54 pm): I am sorry u r on
Xina (10.2 11:01 pm): ok
Xina (10.2 11:12 pm): Go
Lee (10.2 11:08 pm): Alright already
Lee (10.2 11:43 pm): Alright i have a good one going
must pee , so does he. still following. Relaw
Xina (10.2 11:56 pm): ok. Can u text the location? Im 7th ave/leroy
Xina (10.2 12:16 am): Dude. I'm so sorry
Lee (10.2 12:11 am): Cool
Lee (10.2 12:31 am): U go girl
Xina (10.2 12:39 am): on it.
Xina (10.2 12:52 am): Go
Lee (10.2 12:47 am): Thank you
Xina (10.2 12:56 am): No prob. Can u send location broome/thompson?
Lee (10.2 12:54 am): Ok, go...
Xina (10.3 1:01 am): nuh uh!
Lee (10.2 12:56 am): Sorry, I can't help you on this.
Xina (10.3 1:03 am): jus messn w u.
Xina (10.3 1:13 am): Go
Lee (10.3 1:08 am): I'm on it
Lee (10.3 1:24 am): Go
Xina (10.3 1:31 am): ok
Xina (10.3 1:41 am): Go - sorry!
Lee (10.3 1:36 am): OK
Lee (10.3 1:53 am): U go girl
Xina (10.3 2:01 am): I go. Can u send location? Greene/prince
Xina (10.3 2:24 am): Go
Lee (10.3 2:19 am): Brrrr.....
Xina (10.3 2:26 am): no kidding. Was just thinking im going to get sick
Lee (10.3 2:30 am): R u inside?
Lee (10.3 2:32 am): Ur turn
Xina (10.3 2:41 am): ok! Just got ur msg. Im on.
Lee (10.3 2:44 am): Brrrr....Call me
Xina (10.3 3:24 am): Go
Lee (10.3 3:20 am): I was cumfy... ok
Xina (10.3 3:27 am): sorry! Its so cold! I've been inside the bar w robin
Lee (10.3 3:22 am): Cool
Lee (10.3 3:33 am): Brrrr....Go
Xina (10.3 3:41 am): oooooooooook.
Xina (10.3 3:41 am): Where are you?
Lee (10.3 3:36 am): Where are you?
Xina (10.3 3:42 am): thompson/spring
Lee (10.3 3:38 am): Houst w broadwy
Xina (10.3 6:57 am): Go
Lee (10.3 7:21 am): Go go go go
Xina (10.3 7:27 am): yes
Xina (10.3 7:39 am): Go
Lee (10.3 7:41 am): Go go go go
Xina (10.3 7:47 am): ok.
Xina (10.3 7:53 am): Go. Its cold.people are in a hurry.
Lee (10.3 7:50 am): Yawn
Xina (10.3 7:56 am): where are u. Me 7th ave/w 14
Lee (10.3 7:59 am): Go go go go
Xina (10.3 8:07 am): are you cheating?
Lee (10.3 8:01 am): Where?
Xina (10.3 8:09 am): greenwich w 11
Lee (10.3 8:05 am): Go go go go
Xina (10.3 8:12 am): ok ok
Lee (10.3 8:10 am): My turn?
Xina (10.3 8:19 am): yes. Go now.
Lee (10.3 8:13 am): Ok
Lee (10.3 8:24 am): Yawn go...
Xina (10.3 8:31 am): as soon as I finish my pre-breakfast.
Lee (10.3 8:26 am): Oink oink
Xina (10.3 8:32 am): That's right.
Lee (10.3 8:38 am): Sun is good
Xina (10.3 8:48 am): so is "go" which is what u have to do. Can I go to doma yet?
Lee (10.3 8:43 am): My turn?
Xina (10.3 8:49 am): yes.
Xina (10.3 8:50 am): Where are u?
Lee (10.3 8:44 am): 57th
Xina (10.3 8:51 am): I'm not waiting for u for breakfast then.
Lee (10.3 8:48 am): C u @ domos
Xina (10.3 9:03 am): are u on now?
Lee (10.3 8:59 am): Ya
Xina (10.3 9:05 am): k!
Lee (10.3 9:05 am): Go...?
Xina (10.3 9:12 am): sure why not? But start heading near doma. Im right by it...
Lee (10.3 9:07 am): !
Xina (10.3 9:17 am): go?
Lee (10.3 9:12 am): One more
Xina (10.3 9:21 am): ok then I gotta do one more after that to finish
Lee (10.3 9:16 am): Deal
Xina (10.3 9:37 am): are you done yet?
Lee (10.3 9:32 am): Yes!
Xina (10.3 9:38 am): ok my last one starts now. Meet u at d
Lee (10.3 9:35 am): Yes
Xina (10.3 9:43 am): damn I think I picked a long one.
Lee (10.3 9:38 am): Go!

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