Upcoming: Mp3 Experiment Geneva

There will be an Mp3 Experiment happening in Geneva, Switzerland next Thursday. The event is being organized by a local group. See the Geneva Mp3 Games site for more details (helpful if you speak French!)

The Mp3 Experiment was created by Improv Everywhere in 2004. There have been four installments so far in New York, with a fifth planned for later this year.

The Mp3 Experiment Four
The Mp3 Experiment III
The Mp3 Experiment 2.0
The Mp3 Experiment

Depressed ATM

Artist Bob Snead built a talking ATM which he installs without authorization in public places. He writes:

I took ATM out on the town for several different occasions to all of the typical suburban shopping centers around New Haven, CT and Boston, MA. So this video cuts from suburbaneers’ view, ATM’s view, and a spy view.

I got a ticket from the 5-0h for these “performances”! When we were removing the ATM from the Target parking lot, there were several 9-11 calls made. Apparently people thought we were stealing an ATM. They didn’t realize we were saving him. I think he would have committed suicide had we not been there.

Shopping Mall Campers

The Israeli group Shuk.Li recently got a large group of participants to go camping in a huge mall in Tel Aviv. They write:

Dizzengof Center is a very big mall in Tel Aviv that is an architectural masterpiece of twisted space. It is quite hard to navigate, and every time I go there, I keep getting lost. It is a perfect place for us to act as if we are tourists from the suburbs of Israel, coming to see the sights of the big city. The mission had three parts. First, the happy campers trekked the mall dressed in their best trekking equipment, asking people for directions, etc. Some of us even had maps of the mall or maps of the city.

The second part was a guided tour. We had an actor portraying a tour guide, telling stories that are tied with local folklore and culture – things any one in Israel would instantly relate to and recognize. Only, each story was twisted to fit some part of the mall. The tour was really fun for all of the participants (including one or two bystanders who joined in the middle).

The last part was actually building a camp. We planned a little surprise at this point. While the campers were unpacking their sleeping bags, two forest rangers jumped the group. They told them this is not a legal camping site and asked them to leave so they do not disturb the habitat of the local animals – to the surprise of everyone, campers and bystanders alike. All in all, a great success.

Here’s their video, in Hebrew.

Full Mission Report

Salt Shaker Switcheroo

Artist Paul Pescador has been switching salt shakers all over Los Angeles, leaving a stream of mismatched salt & pepper pairs in the wake of his dining experiences.

He explains:

I sit down at a table in a crowded restaurant. I pick up a saltshaker from across the table and place it in my pocket. From my jacket, I pull out a different shaker, one I took from the last restaurant I visited. I carefully place it next to the pepper and order my meal.

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Italian TV Prankster in Legal Trouble

Gabriele Paolini in action

From the BBC News:

Prolific Italian TV prankster and condom advocate Gabriele Paolini faces a prison sentence unless he behaves.

Mr Paolini has made a career of popping up uninvited behind unwitting on-air TV reporters promoting condom use.

Guinness World Records says Mr Paolini is the world’s most successful TV hijacker, interrupting 20,000 link-ups.

But now Italy’s Supreme Court has upheld a three-month suspended sentence on him for interrupting a report on the state broadcaster RAI in June 2001.

The court has also ruled that anyone who deliberately gets onto TV while standing in a public place can commit an offense even if they are silent and immobile.

Reminds us of the US group Newsbreakers:

Verizon Wireless Network Prank

Over the past couple of years one of the most common ideas emailed to Improv Everywhere has been, “Get a bunch of people to stand behind someone and pretend they are the Verizon ‘network,’ like in those commercials.” We’ve literally had 300 emails over the years suggesting that idea. We got so tired of hearing it that we even put it up on the list of common suggestions on our FAQ.

The main reason we were never interested in the idea is that it would essentially just be recreating a commercial. The funny idea of “a bunch of people standing behind someone” was already in the commercial itself, and the only added comedy would be that it was being done in real life.

Well, as you can see in the video above, Verizon ended up making the idea happen on their own. Too bad they didn’t splurge for the helicopter. You’ll notice they include “Improv Everywhere” in the tags for the video. I’m not sure why, as we didn’t have anything to do with it. I guess it’s not the first time someone’s put a misleading tag on an online video.

Birthday Girl in Brooklyn

Street artist ry/Olympia sent in the following call to action for Greenpoint, Brooklyn residents to help him out with his latest project.

Folks in Brooklyn/NYC,

Please help me pull off an audacious street art project and surprise my girlfriend with a unique birthday gift. My girlfriend moved to Connecticut from Greenpoint last year. She misses it terribly, and constantly pines for the days spent with friends in the neighborhood. For her birthday this year, I have installed a life-sized board of the Birthday Girl at Franklin Ave and Noble Street. I am asking anyone who can to go to Greenpoint and photograph yourself with the Birthday Girl, and then, email or pix message the photo to birthdaygirl08@gmail.com. Soon she will have an entire album of images of herself and many, many friends partying in Greenpoint! I will also be uploading all images to my flickr account, so all can watch as the piece progresses.

I do not know how long the Birthday Girl will be up. It’s a pretty big piece, just begging to be torn down.

Thanks for your help. You’re going to make this birthday one she’ll never forget!

If you take a photo, post a link in the comments so everyone can see.

Digital Water Walls

An MIT-designed building with walls made entirely of water was unveiled Thursday at the opening of the Zaragoza World Expo in Spain.

From their press release:

The “water walls” that make up the structure are generated by high-speed computer controlled solenoid valves. They can be programmed to take varying shapes, to display patterns, images and text, and to respond dynamically to input from sensors.

“This capability enables architects to challenge many traditional ideas about architectural form,” says Mitchell. “Doors, for example, need not have fixed locations. When you walk up to them, water walls can open like the Red Sea for Moses, and then seamlessly close behind you.”

“The Digital Water Pavilion illustrates how buildings of the future may change their appearance and form from moment to moment, based on necessity and use,” says Ratti. “It is not easy to achieve such effects when dealing with concrete, bricks and mortar. But this becomes possible with digital water, which can appear and disappear.”

Read the full press release
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