Cabaret for Commuters

Here is me breaking the social contract on BART, where no one is supposed to look at anyone else.

Philip Huang

Berkeley, CA

Artistic Disciplines:

Artist Statement:

So there’s a 24 Hour Fitness in downtown Berkeley.  It’s got the typical set-up—dozens of cardio machines facing a wall of windows—and every time I walk past those windows, I can’t help gawking at all the sad people plugging away on stationary bikes and treadmills.

Let me tell you, there is nothing more joyless than the moderately fit doing cardio.

Here's what I want to do:

I want to put on a little show on the sidewalk, a little circus, to remind people that the world can be more than the current organization implies. 

I call it, Witness the Fitness.

What does this have to do with world culture?

Think of the micro-worlds that crowd and share the public spaces all around us.  The sidewalk outside the gym is a perfect example.  It's an uneasy space where the world of fitness, so studious and humorless, intersects with the random street.  And when I walk by, I always feel the unspoken pact that while those on treadmills can look at me—indeed they are supposed to look at me, because somehow that might help them burn calories—I’m not supposed to look back or even acknowledge that I'm being looked at.  So in the spell of this social contract, an implicit power structure holds.  Gazes flow only one way.  One world holds reign over the other.

Well I don’t like it.

But I want to pervert it.

I hope you can help me. 

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