Pop Up Party – Digital Day Camp 2009

The final project for Digital Day Camp ’09 took the form of a “Pop Up Party.” What follows is a description of the process of the making of the DDC09 Pop Up Party.

Over the course of one week, DDC09 researched and explored the Highline – asking ourselves questions about what it once was, what it is now, who built it, for who – by interviewing people on it, and people who live and work nearby, including those who have never checked it out, and never plan to. We considered everything we had learned, and using all our skills and resources developed of the course of this summer, we decided to design a guerrilla, public intervention.

Our intervention took the form of an instant art happening, what we called a “pop up party.” Our party was designed to include the elements of the Highline we found successful – green space, social, seating, pretty, etc – as well as elements we thought were lacking – public performance space, free refreshments, spaces for ANYONE to make things, play and party! We wanted the people we interviewed – including those who love the Highline and those who felt it represents an unwelcoming gentrified neighborhood – to want to come to our party. We designed a space we hope anyone would feel welcome, and most importantly, a space where people could participate in it’s creation!

We used (mostly) found materials – A huge yellow tarp rescued from a parking lot, gorgeous handpainted paper patterns, plastic planters, native plants dug up from around the neighborhood, and tons of foam, plastic, and cardboard. Beyond that, we kept it cheap and easy – We wanted our guests to see that creating an environment like our Lowline doesn’t require any special resources or tons of cash! Mostly it took us time (only 4 days!) and a whole lot of creativity!

We kept our party mobile so that we could be in and out in a couple of hours, but also so people could feel comfortable rearranging it and recreating it as needed. Someone added a dance floor, and many people used our sidewalk chalk to create a colorful environment to play in. Seats were moved around, impromptu hula hoop lessons were taught, people took the stage to serenade the rest of us. Our Mobile Movie House featuring videos we made over the course of the summer……well, it was MOBILE!!

This was a first version – We experimented with posting a lemonade stand via pulley system on the Highline – to connect high and low, to attract attention, to feed the masses! We were swiftly kicked off, but we still claim success. Our floating banner was BEAUTIFUL! It was hard to control, and our fragile balloons left our sign sinking over the course of the night. We liked this. It could have been better. Our fort became a lovely backdrop for our Plant It! roving plant workshop. In the future, we have to solve the design problem of creating a fort for a site we can’t access in the present.

Pop Up Party artist collaborator and Eyebeam alum Christina Kral has posted a video sharing some of the making of the Digital Day Camp ’09 Pop Up Party, as well as footage from the party itself, and reflections from student collaborators. The video is available here: