Waiting For the Man
Sixty blocks of Manhattan host an elaborate, layered series of street installations and performances, navigated by an unsuspecting participant: a photographer’s model asked to take photos of anything he finds “interesting.” Installation artists are given equally vague directions to watch out for a man dressed in black and wearing a straw hat, like in the Lou Reed song, so they can try to be one of the “interesting” things he photographs. A number of additional, clandestine participants are also tailing the man in the straw hat, documenting his journey and each installation.
Part social experiment and part exploration of the overlap between documentation and surveillance, this work unveils the many overlapping subjectivities of attention that occur on the average metropolitan street. The Man’s photographs reveal a different city and a different narrative than the photographer accompanying him, The Woman in Red who is following them both, or The Lone Gunman, a pair of children (and their mother) who anchor the entourage. Each participant provides an alternative perspective on the installation series, which was shared at the end of the performance in an awards ceremony.
The framework for the event provides creative autonomy for each installation, while still weaving them together into a cohesive network of activity. By utilizing tropes from film noir, this work questions the universality of surveillance in Western culture and highlights the emotional impact of a perceived observer. It also examines the meaning of documentation by exposing the sheer proliferation of perspectives and the idiosyncratic narratives that they evoke.
For many of the participating artists, this was their first time performing in a public intervention on the street. An interventionist boot camp, Waiting For The Man simultaneously provided a framework and venue for emerging artists, as well as a guerrilla performance festival for passersby. This dual creation for both artists and passersby is a recurring theme in Krawczuk’s work.
Waiting For The Man was a communal effort with many wonderful artists and individuals.