Simple Adventures for Everyday Living

Note: This is an article that had been originally published in the TenByTen ( magazine. Unfortunately, the magazine ceased to exist some years ago. I loved the article when I read it first. I have later tried to locate it to no avail. After some digging I found it buried in the I don’t own the copyright to this article, so feel free to contact me in case you do and don’t agree with me publishing it.

Simple Adventures for Everyday Living

by Joseph del Pesco

These ideas were initially inspired by Situationist International texts. The “scripts” below, which include many suggested by friends as part of a work in progress, began as simple adventures you could do by yourself without spending any money; later some turned more toward public interventions, while others became less literal and more performance-oriented. Even if they were initially intended for someone to “directly live” an experience, in response to Guy Debord’s idea that “everything that [is] directly lived has moved away into a representation,” some create a double negative: when enacted, a spectacle is realized.

Important Person
Get a group of friends together, three or four with cameras and two or three with pads of paper. Go up to a stranger. Start shooting photos and ask for an autograph.

Along the Lines
Wear a pinstripe suit to work. In the middle of the day, cut along each line with a pair of sharp scissors.

Water Closet
Hang a black-light poster in the bathroom of a gas station. Install a black-light bulb.

Man riding a bike with strings with chalkTrail of Tears
Attach chalk to several strings and let them hang from the back of your bike, marking your route.

Le Imposter
Forge a copy of an artwork in your house and hang it up in the same frame in the same place. See if anyone notices.

House being covered by sodRooftop Parks
Cover every roof on your block with sod.

Living Room
Use bright orange traffic cones to block off an entire block and lay down carpet. Set up a living room and watch movies. Invite your neighbors.

Street Sign Chalkboard
Buy instant-chalkboard spray paint and cover a (non-traffic-related) street sign for use by the local community. Hang bits of chalk from strings.

Finding X
Hide something in the house and leave a treasure map on the refrigerator.

Flowers to Strangers
Go through the dumpster of a local flower shop, pull out the flowers that still look okay, and give them to strangers on the street.

Shower Singing
Record yourself singing in the shower and send it to a friend.

Movie Context
Stop watching a movie in a theater halfway through. Go home and watch the second half on video.

Subverted Signage
Rearrange letters on a marquee sign in the middle of the night.

City Reclamation
Choose a street-level space in the city to make your own. Clean, decorate, and throw a party.

Soft Cover
Sew a fabric covering for a local park bench. Consider padding it like an old toaster cozy.

Lo-Fi Serenade
Sing into the intercoms of apartment buildings.

Woman taking shower with her clothes onShower/Laundry
Take a shower with all your clothes on.

The Sound of Mail
Send a sound-activated tape recorder in a box to a friend who lives across the country.

Mystery Aid
Sneak into a friend’s house and fold laundry or do the dishes.

Blinded man walkingBlinded woman walkingBlind Meeting
Start at the opposite end of a field from a friend. Walk towards each other with your eyes closed and see if you’re able to meet in the middle.

Couch Swap
Trade furniture with your neighbors for one month.

Jumper Cable Circuit
Connect the two sides of a train track near a road to turn on the blinking lights and bells.

Tree Graffiti
Using spray cans of (supposedly beneficial) Sap and stencils, create marks on the sides of tree trunks.

Guerilla Swings
Make swings out of wood boards and thick rope. Go to a local park and hang them from every tree that has an appropriate branch.

Call a random number from a payphone and ask the person who answers for some practical piece of information: “Do you know how long it takes to cook muffins?” or “How do I get to ______ from downtown?”

Anonymous Leg Up
Send unsigned letters to a younger person you know giving them
information that will save them trouble in the future.

Music for Telemarketers
Learn to play a song using the number keys on the telephone. When a telephone solicitor calls, play it for them.

Pretending to Pretend
Go to a party where you don’t know anyone and pretend to be someone else. Try it on a plane.

Guerilla Spotlight
Rent a high-powered spotlight. Find a good location up high, looking down on a busy city street in the late afternoon, and pick someone out of the crowd.

Mirror Mural
Draw messages on the mirrors of a public bathroom with dry erase marker.

Closer-In Conversations
During conversations, stand closer than usual.

Nonlinear Poetry
Write one line of a multi-line poem in chalk on each street corner in a 4 or 5 block radius.

Junk Mail Echoes
Do a drawing on a postcard-sized piece of junk mail and send it back.

Post-It Graffiti
Write on Post-It Notes and stick them up around your house or town.

Slow-Mo Meal
Eat in Slow Motion. See if this is easier while dining alone.

Hidden Pajamas
Put the day’s clothes over the clothes you woke up wearing.

Lines into History
Send a note to all the people you love but have lost contact with.

Pace circles in a public square with a blank picket sign.

Airplanes Overhead
Drive to your local airport. Park in line with a runway, under arriving or departing flights.

Photo Booth Put-On
Gather a bag of props and disguises. Bring plenty of single bills.

Paper Airplanes
Write notes on sheets of paper. Toss them off skyscrapers.

Going Nowhere
Drive (or bus) aimlessly in any direction until you’re thoroughly lost. Then work your way back, taking photos to document your adventure.

Dark Shower
Turn the lights off and the water on. Leave a small candle nearby to help you find the switch afterwards.

First Kiss Again
Think about where you were when your first kiss happened.

Make signs, t-shirts, posters, and bumper stickers that say, simply, “Yes.”

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