Location: Gowanus Studio Space (Brooklyn, New York)
I created The Canopy in January 2008 for the 2/1/2008 opening party at The Gowanus Studio Space, where I am a member and have my studio. It is a simple party game
based on a passive appraoch to the mechanics of zombie tag. Party-goers assume the identity of a species of bird and try to
work together to convert other species of birds to their own. The idea of a cult-like flock of birds is an intentional parody
of fundamentalism, including religious, sub-cultural, and political flavors thereof.
The game did not work out as I planned, mostly I think because I was for the first time ever trying to appeal to an audience
unfamiliar with this type of activity. The party-goers wanted to look at art, chat, and they also came-and-went with more
freqency than I'd anticipated. I learned a lot about how to better represent and frame my work for different types of audiences.
I think that the audience would have enjoyed just pegging each other with the bird stickers. Also, I think that in a situation like this, with
an urban tech-savvy group who is very comfortable playing with their gadgets (iPod, iPhone, cell, etc), using technology might actually
be a way to LOWER the barrier of entry into the gamespace.
Here were the instructions (simplified):
Welcome to The Canopy.
You are a magic bird with a penchant for shape-shifting. You want all birds to be like you. Flock with your species to transform others into your own.
1. Wear a sticker on your back to identify your species of magic bird.
2. You need stickers to transform others. Get them by approaching The Birdwatcher with other members of your flock.
3. Recruit new birds to your flock by giving stickers to people not yet identified as magic birds.
4. Transform birds of other species into your own by approaching them with a group of members of your flock.
Catch them when they are alone – away from members of their own flock.
Swoop in with the right number of birds from your flock:
* 2 Resplendent Quetzals can transform a Sparrow.
* 3 Resplendent Quetzals can transform a Hummingbird.
* 5 Hummingbirds can transform a Resplendent Quetzal.
* 6 Sparrows can transform a Hummingbird.
* 7 Sparrows can transform a Resplendent Quetzal.
5. Apply one of your stickers on their back, over the old sticker to finalize their transformation to your flock.
Flickr Set from the Party