Sunday, December 19, 2010

Absurdists and the Kingdom of God

SOURCE:  “Activate Your Creativity!” by Jo del Pesco.  Utne Magazine.  January-February 2004, pg 36-7
KEYWORDS:  kingdom of God, absurd, unexpected

The situationists, an iconoclastic group of French leftist theorists, artists, and pranksters active in the late 1950s and 60s, pioneered a critique of capitalism that called not for revolution in some distant future, but imaginative acts of resistance, refusal, and mind-alteration in the present.  Influenced by Dadaaist absurdity and deeply interested in how the routines of everyday life dull our responses to the world, they carried out, among other things, absurd actions that derailed our expectations of how life is supposed to “run.”  In their spirit, here are some amusing, enlightening, and absurd actions, suggested by Twin Cities--based artist and curator Jo del Pesco, to make your day a little stranger--and your life that much less stuck in the grooves of the “way things are supposed to be.”

Flowers to Strangers.
Go through the dumpster of a local flower shop, pull out the flowers that still look okay, and give them to strangers on the street.

Guerrilla Farming
Plant vegetables or flowers on a traffic island in the middle of a street.

Water Closet
Hang a black-light poster in the bathroom of a gas station, and then install a black-light bulb.

Music for Telemarketers
Learn to play a song using the number keys on the telephone.  When a telephone solicitor calls, play it for them.

Hundred Flyers
Stand on the street corner with 100 one dollar bills and try to hand them out as flyers.  Count how many people ignore you.

Mystery Aid
Sneak into a friend’s house and fold the laundry or do the dishes.

Soft Cover
Sew a fabric cover for a local park bench.  Consider padding it like an old toaster cozy

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