Last spring I read an article in the NYT about an architect who has a booth at a farmer’s market and will answer your questions for 5 cents.
At the end of the summer I moved to Seattle, I was walking around the farmers market and there was the architect booth from the article. I had forgotten that the project was based in Seattle and sure enough, posted up, 5 cents, anything you want to know from an architect. He was happy to engage and share his process with me, all of which got me thinking.
…I could recruit a Marxist Professor to set up shop with me, I could act as the social liaison and agent provocateur, referring questions of a deeper substantive nature to my partner.
I’d call it ‘ask a Marxist’. Anyone can come up and ask whatever they like. We charge 2 cents, to be both playful and suggest a semblance of agency from the questioning public. I sense that it could be a replicable model that could put radicals into public spaces and frame exchanges with a critical lens towards ideology.
In the weeks after having my idea, I began a bit of “market” research. I sought out conversations about issues of material importance with people I bumped into in public. My inquiry confirmed that in many strata of American society people are yearning to have conversations upon matters of significance and contribute their own experiences and what I’d call ‘everyday radicalism’. I had some wonderful exchanges. Each educational, improvisational and containing unlikely depth and plenty of laughing about the dire nature of our circumstances.
All of which, got me thinking about something deeper. The market is great site, but this could also make for some amazing television. These conversations are incredibly fluid and unpredictable. People are funny and when you put them in a group, add an agitator, around a topic of substance, that is a recipe for social and conversational creativity to emerge. And creativity is unruly. Unruly and fun. And if there is anything that we can learn from the Snooki’s (Jersey Shore) and Flavor Flav’s (The Flavor of Love) of our media world, it’s that people will watch crazy. I don’t even think people care what it is, as long as it’s off the wall. And these conversations certainly make for that.
I hope to start at the market in the Summer.
If you can help in any way, let me know.
I am still on the hunt for a Professor of proper material foundation, please send any leads.
Some folks have inquired about the reasoning and goals of the project, I am thrilled for the engagement. The following link presents a discussion with two wonderful thinkers that underscores some of my thinking behind the project. Feel free to reach out. http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/9251
Posted on February 3, 2011