Last Thursday, I exhibited After Thought, a performance-installation that I developed while at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center at Art in Odd Places in New York (check out their AIOP website, there’s some great projects there).
As the name implies, these performances that happen in unusual spots in the city, this one being at the 14th Street Y.
We scheduled this to happen during the CSA pick up where folks were picking up their weekly organic veggies.
Here I am posing with my two assistants: Minha Lee and Zack Frater. We used the lab coat + eyeglasses props to reel people in.
I began with a short intake form with questions such as “What is your greatest physical fear?” I discovered that an inordinate number of people are afraid of snakes.
After completing the intake form, people wear a brainwave-reading headset â€” I use the Neurosky Mindset â€” to capture stress and relaxation levels. They turn over flashcards while I monitor their reactions.
I can’t see what they are looking at. If their their stress or relaxation responses spike, I ask them for the card, then note it down on my result form. This person was especially negatively triggered by cockroaches.
And this gentleman was relaxed by the guys hanging out in the hot tub. Give me that flashcard!
Minha, who interned for me at Eyebeam also administered tests. This subject has no reaction, good or bad to the image of the police car.
Here you can see how the intervention occurs. People had no idea why we were there. Many were suspicious, thinking that we our Scientology-style relaxation/stress test was trying to sell them something or lure them into a cult. Others were immediately intrigued. Some needed convincing. One respondent offered us a bundle of swiss chard for barter.
Afterward, I would sit down with each respondent and we would talk about their results. “Why did you get stressed out by the cute puppy?”
In the background here, you can see one of the two curators, Yaelle Amir, who demonstrates her ambidexterity by texting while typing.
One of my last tests of the day was with Stephanie Rothenberg, a good friend of mine. I knew her too well to provide unbiased analysis. The image of the crying baby was one of her stress indicators. Hmmm.