Archikulture Digest

Barefoot In The Park (but not the Neil Simon comedy)

Barefoot In The Park (but not the Neil Simon comedy)

By Jessica Earley and Brian Feldman Projects

Dickson Azalea Park, Orlando Florida

May 1, 2009</strong>

On the surface, this is pretty straight forward – Time Constrained Performance Artist Brian Feldman and his charming girlfreind Jessica Earley invite all the people on Facebook to take a walk through an urban park barefoot. While that might sound romantic, in Florida walking barefoot through the undergrowth might introduce you to any number of prickery flora and toothy fauna, never mind the broken glass. Still, Mr. Feldman is nothing if not dedicated to his art, and to raise the stakes a bit they take their walk blindfold, surrounded by a smallish bevy of photographers. Since there’s a rather steep ravine in this park, some of us broke journalist convention and advise the walkers “You might not want to go that way!” or the more pointed “Stop! You’ll fall!” While watching the pair plummet to certain death might have some temporary entertainment value, we would have had to recover the bodies and fill out paperwork, and we all felt that was a bad trade to let them perish.

Before the walk began, Feldman and Earley taught us the Tree Dance, which involves standing firmly on the earth, feeling its power flow through us, and than waving our twigs and branches in the breeze. As the walk progressed, Ms. Earley presented a scattered nature lecture and the advice not to eat certain plants. No one appeared hungry, and since the blindfolds seemed pretty effective, there’s no telling what they thought they were pointing at. Anyway, I get my vegetation at Publix.

After an half an hour’s stroll, not always on the path and not always moving forward in a monotonic direction, we crossed under a busy street on to a small paved stage where a tiger attacked us. Fortunately, it was a Mascot Style tiger, and rather than ripping us limb for limb, it emitted an electronic growl and danced the Tree Dance with Feldman and Earley. They all took bows, and we all snacked on trail mix, apple juice and water. It turned out that the tiger was vegetarian, so that was a relief.

In the realm of Feldman projects, this was a bit bipolar. A stroll in the park can be just that, but the blindfolds and ravine made this something riskier and not for a solo excursion. Adding a tiger could be viewed as a nod to nature or the invasive species concerns we have in Florida, but it also remained us we ARE in an urban area and polyester is the natural fabric we are most likely to experience without resorting to cable TV.

This Project has an insane number of websites. Pick the one you like:

http://tr.im/barefootrelease

http://jessicaearley.wordpress.com (Jessica Earley)

http://brianfeldman.com (Brian Feldman)

http://tr.im/barefootfb (Barefoot in the Park: Facebook Event)

http://tr.im/barefootrelease (Barefoot in the Park: Google Docs)

When referencing on Twitter, please use hashtag: #barefoot


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