Dani Lurie. Making Mischief
Graphic designer and a writer. Is really highly excitable. Especially about getting people to interact with the world in interesting ways. So that brings us to mischief. It has traditionally been bad. Associated with troublemakers. So why is it good, why worth talking about. When a toddler, her and her brothers had broken the parent’s VCR by feeding it biscuits. That was mischief. Bit it’s about learning, experiencing, Experiential learning is an important developmental process, how we grow
When studying psychology, leaned ot enjoy experiments, developing them. TO allow people to do just enough to shake up the world. Look at the 60s shock experiment (Milbrun), to see how many people would increase the shocks for people, 26 out of 40 administered the full amount – even up to lethal dose. After this, they looked at crowd size. they devised experiment, to get people to point up, to see how many people had to be pointing before others looked up. Increased group size lead to increased behaviour. 1 person gives 40%, then 85% when group was 40 students. It revealed the nature of conformance behaviour, without providing distress. That was one they recreated as psych students/We had been given a licence to mess with the mundane – silliness had a real purpose. And that is mischief.
See it as a way to conduct experiments, to learn by doing. Explore mundane by provoking else. They don’t have to be bad. it is to test and discover and have fun. so positive or purposeful mischief. Last year, Mcdonalds sold fries of all sides for equiv of £1. So students ordered so much fries they brought them out in trays – potato parties. They caused social trouble, but had fun.
We created a magazine, with content about testing and about investigations. We tested hangover cures (not good for writer), we tested ways to juice an orange, from syringe to run over with car. We anted to experiment with things we had only dreamed of doing, with things that had not been done before. Based round one question, what would happen if. If we planted a guerilla garden, made cheese, hold a pen race, walking tour at a music festival.
Some of our favourates. What would happen if you posted a banana. 21m items posted through Royal Mail. Some don;t make it. How far would they go to get items from one place to another. Would they deliver things smelly. We put stamps on items – jeans, biscuits, crisps, DVD. the crisp packet arrived empty, Then we tried items of funny shapes or textures, to outfox auto sorting systems. Scarf, umbrella, clothes peg. Et. For umbrella, we had to distract the clerk to get it into the system, It did make it to the destination (the recipients did not know, and got told off nearly every time). Scarf did not make it. The long thin letter was folded in half. The sponge did not make it (but stamps may have fallen off).
Next a group of suspicious items. Flour in a box, that arrived. The flour in a bag, refused by first postoffice, as it was unwrapped. they told the next that the packaging ws wrapping paper. Had a normal envelope, but stamp upside down – and that is treason…(outdated law). The letter contained the word ‘Treason’. We think it was received..recipient had not confirmed but discussed hate mail so that may have been it. The porn DVD did not arrive.
Smelly things. Brie – had been rewrapped. And had changed shape, so not a ‘letter’..so recipient was charged more. Wrapped banana arrived, the unwrapped did not. The vial of ‘urine’ did arrive fine
Sentimental items The flowers arrived fine. The stuffed toy was ok. The hello kitty cup did not make it.
Last we sent valuable items. Keys – arrived. Oyster card arrived fine. Lottery ticket, was fine – although postman advised choice of numbers was not good. The £5 and £10 arrived fine.
Next project – contacting people who share your name. WIth the internet, you have to share it with a lot more people. Her shared name person, was creative, filmmaker, lives in New York. She decided to contact, because she could. Emails led to Skype chat. Very good conversation, a lot of similarities. The NY person had visited home town and stayed with people who knew her family. We tried a few others in the team, a lot morenames
One last project. Playing hide and seek in busy public space. Added a few twists to make it interesting. FIrst play in bookshop or library and you learn a new fact when hiding – the one with best fact wins. Then Halfterm toyshoppocolypse. Play in children’s toyshop a the busiest time. There is no strategy to game, it is terrifying. Only option is to keep moving. Most players found quickly. Last game is Ride and Seek. Playing it on a moving train. You start at the station and need to stay on train, but can move around between carriages at stops. Once hider found, then will follow the seeker.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.