For their latest mission Improv Everywhere turned a carousel into a horse race. A single jockey was joined by two announcers, a roaring crowd, and a trumpeter. The children on the carousel had no idea what was going on. The mission took place at Le Carrousel in New York’s Bryant Park.
Surprise Surveillance Theater was an interactive theater experience, performed live for hundreds, unbeknownst to the unwitting stars of the show. It was part of the Lost Horizon Night Market, an extraordinary, modular, participatory art party that takes place in unmarked box trucks on low-traffic back streets in New York City.
The goal was to take unwitting revelers and throw them into a narrative about a black market, requiring the target to pass secret notes, have rendezvous, wear a wire, and make a mystery delivery. All of this was watched by a live audience on more than a dozen TVs showing footage captured by strategically placed video cameras, but the scope of the experience was only revealed to the target at the very end when he or she delivered a secret package to the waiting audience.
For Improv Everywhere’s latest mission 23 actors and 2 dogs infiltrated a public space and went on “mute” at coordinated intervals. The mission took place near the northern entrance to Prospect Park in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The Mute Button was produced by Improv Everywhere as part of the Guggenheim Museum exhibition stillspotting nyc.
For Improv Everywhere’s latest mission an ice skater stranded alone on the rink transformed from a novice into an expert in New York’s Bryant Park. The project was a collaboration with Ice Theatre of New York.
No, Auntie’s Em’s house from The Wizard of Oz didn’t get caught up in a twister and smash into MUMOK (Vienna’s Museum of Modern Art); the above piece, titled “House Attack,” is the work of Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm. The suburban house was placed on top of the building to commemorate a Wurm exhibition that opened in 2006.
It’s worth noting that MUMOK is no stranger to urban pranking. Last September, the museum’s pavilion was the site of Improv Everywhere’s Vienna Mp3 Experiment.
Miranda July, the performance artist/writer/actress/director best known for her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, has installed her public art piece Eleven Heavy Things in New York’s Union Square Park. The sculptures, which debuted at the 2009 Venice Biennale, are designed to create photo-ops for passersby who choose to interact with the art.
A mysterious street artist named TrustoCorp has placed street signs around Brooklyn, with messages ranging from silly to sophomoric. TrustoCorp also took his or her show on the road recently, posting signs around Los Angeles and Miami. A gallery of the signs can be viewed on TrustoCorp’s flickr page.
Joel Kyack, a Los Angeles based artist, is using puppetry to help rush hour commuters stave off boredom. Kyack’s new project, Superclogger, presents puppet shows out of the back of a pick-up truck to drivers stuck in traffic jams. A soundtrack to the puppet show will be broadcast to the viewer’s car stereo. If you live in the Los Angeles area, check Superclogger’s twitter site which gives daily updates on the mobile puppet show’s location.
David Livingston‘s Big Dick series of videos is cracking us up. He explains on his site:
I see art as a performance, enacted either in crowds of strangers or in the privacy of my studio. In Manhattan’s financial district, I wore a six foot long felt penis sewn together and stuffed with sofa upholstery. During this and subsequent performances, I was fascinated by the public’s reactions (laughter, avoidance, offense) and my own (pride, liberation, shame) as I parodied the figure of the downtown businessman using childish humor.
Since 1886, various organizations (currently English Heritage) have placed circular, blue plaques around London to commemorate where important events have taken place or where prominent people have lived. The Dirty Square Gallery in London has decided to spoof the English’s quest to honor themselves by placing meaningless blue plaques around London.
Most hockey fans are familiar with a bizarre Detroit Red Wings tradition where fans of the team hurl octopus onto the ice after the Wings score a goal (usually in playoff games). This practice dates back to 1952, when a fan chucked a octopus in the rink to symbolize the 8 playoff wins it took to win the Stanley Cup (it now takes 16).
Fast-forward to Game 2 of the San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings 2010 playoff series. As a response to the long-standing Red Wings tradition, one dedicated San Jose fan tossed a 3-foot leopard shark with an octopus sewn into its mouth on the ice after the Sharks scored a 1st period goal. The most impressive part of the stunt is that the fish tosser smuggled the shark into the game by duct taping it to his leg. Very gross, but pretty funny.
On a recent trip to Portugal, we noticed a massive number of senior citizens looking out of windows from morning till night. A common sight throughout Europe, these old-timers are usually on the lookout to report any suspicious behavior in their neighborhood.
Because of this trend, we are extremely amused by “The Senoritas of Lisboa,” a project by CC, a Portuguese art collective. This group has gone around Lisbon and placed signs parodying the Securitas (a Swedish security firm) logo underneath old ladies who seem to be permanently perched at their windows.
Kenny “K-Strass” Strasser, a self-proclaimed “Yo-Yo Master,” has been showcasing his skills on morning shows across the midwest. The only problem is that he’s terrible at yo-yo tricks. This yo-yo hoaxster has proved once again that there’s a pretty flimsy screening process for morning talk show guests.
For Improv Everywhere‘s latest mission, they created separate walking lanes for tourists and New Yorkers on a Fifth Avenue sidewalk. Department of Transportation “employees” were on hand to enforce the new rules and ask pedestrians for their feedback on the initiative. Enjoy the video first and then go behind-the-scenes with the photos and report on IE’s site:
It’s not safe to go in the water…or the Metro! Kapo, a Spanish street artist, created this shark coming out of what appears to be a subway ventilation shaft. Note the detail of the water splashing around the shark to give the mural a terrifying 3D effect.
Bucky Bar is a temporary, unauthorized installation created by DUS Architects in Rotterdam:
Last Friday evening Feb. 19th The Bucky Bar opened, a temporary public building designed by DUS Architects. The dome-bar, entirely made of umbrella’s, appeared seemingly suddenly out of nowhere on the street around a lamppost in the centre of Rotterdam. The fully equipped bar, complete with DJ and drinks, was directly built on site. Approximately 300 visitors danced under the umbrella roof, until at 2:00 AM the police ended the party, as there was no permit.
The Billboard Liberation Front have announced “a new advertising improvement campaign” targeting McDonald’s billboards. They’re calling the re-branding effort “I’m Sick Of It.” The first hacked billboard appeared at the corner of California and Hyde in San Francisco.
Looks like they are doing work for Phillip Morris as well:
New York artist Liz Filardi was tired of getting delivery menus slipped under her door and shoved in her face on the street. So she began collected them and adding her own messages that more accurately describe the interaction between the solicitor and solicited. She then passed them out herself on the streets.
The morning after the Great Blizzard of 2010, President Obama awoke to find four frosty protesters on the White House lawn. However, these snowy, sign-wielding dissidents seemed less interested in politics and more concerned about the return of Arrested Development and the well-being of Bill Watterson.
For our latest mission, over 1,000 people rode the subway without underwear or pants in New York City. Our annual No Pants Subway Ride has been a tradition for years, and we decided it was time to up the ante. Riders spread out over four different subway lines to surprise and delight everyday New Yorkers riding the train. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos. We have blurred out the private parts of all the riders to keep the documentation safe for work.
For our latest mission we had several hundred agents spend a day at Coney Island / Brighton Beach wearing black tie attire. We covered a mile-long stretch of beach with a diverse group of people of all ages (from babies to sixty-somethings) laying out, playing games, and swimming in the ocean, all in formal wear. Agents were instructed to find cheap tuxedos and ball gowns at thrift stores for the occasion.
We’ve covered the New York Street Advertising Takeover quite a few times on this site, but we wanted to share this new short documentary by Sarah Berman. It does a great job of telling the story of the project and the positive impact it had on our streets.
The Spoiler Alert signs warn waiting riders of this potentially unwanted information — allowing them to avert their eyes so they may preserve their spirit of adventure — while still leaving visible the data for travelers who wish to ruin the surprise for themselves.
On February 21, 2009, an advertising firm handed Poster Boy a MoMA jacket and gave him free range of the MoMA branded Atlantic-Pacific subway station in New York. Turns out the firm wasn’t supposed to do that, and MoMA fired them. Whoops.
For Improv Everywhere’s latest mission, over 3,000 participants downloaded an MP3 file and pressed play simultaneously in retail stores in Midtown Manhattan. The masses converged on Bryant Park where a series of fun activities unfolded, culminating in a huge “mummy dance party.” This was the 7th installment in the Mp3 Experiment series.
Although it was created as an art project, Justin Shull‘s hilarious Terrestrial Shrub Rover has unlimited pranking potential. Shull, a Houston, Texas-based artist, was inspired to create the mobile hedge thanks in part to future space travel. Shull writes on his website:
In the spirit of NASA and its forthcoming 2020 lunar expeditions in preparation for colonizing the moon, the Terrestrial Shrub Rover presents the opportunity to explore terrestrial and social environments back on Earth from within a manned, foliage bedecked, solar electric powered rover.
Whatever the inspiration, we hope that Shull will come around to use the Terrestrial Shrub Rover for pranking purposes in the near future. With his high-tech shrub-on-wheels, Shull could put pranksters like San Francisco’s “World Famous Bushman” to shame.
Artist Jeremy Dean converted a Hummer into a stage coach. Whoa.
On Sunday March 8th 2010 Jeremy Dean made New york City history by taking his converted Hummer entitled Futurama out for a spin. Entering Central park in New York at 69th St. and Central Park West (at the old Tavern on the Green location) Dean had his hand crafted vehicle pulled by two white horse aptly named Duke and Diesel.
Dean has taken a gas guzzling 8 mile-per-gallon HUMMER H2, a symbol of extravagance, and converted it into a working horse drawn cart. Dean has pimped it out with silver chrome, working LED lights and a booming audio and video system. He calls this piece the CEO Stagecoach.
UK street artist Contra installed a life-size cut out of Prime Minister Gorden Brown on the south bank opposite The Houses of Parliament in London. Also attached was a speech bubble made with dry-erase board material, allowing each stranger to add his own voice. The video is a touch long, but has some very nice moments. We love projects like this that encourage public participation. Reminds us of Ji Lee’s bubble project.