NYC: alone Overview

The following overview was the outline that we used to create the project.  Though some aspects of the project did change, we are keeping this here for archive purposes.

To see the schedule we planned for the trip, click here.


NYC: alone is an inter-disciplinary work that explores what it means to be alienated and isolated in a city of 8 million people in contemporary times. Necessarily, the work includes a social media aspect, since so much of our lives are now broadcast for mass consumption. Whether on the subway, the streets, or Facebook, we live publicly, and alone.

The work will include:

  1. Performance art: a 24-marathon subway ride (February 1st to 2nd)
  2. Video art
  3. Photography and other 2D visual art
  4. Text art (poetry, prose, etc)
  5. Sound art
  6. Social media art
  7. A solo-play (end of February/beginning of March, exact date and time is TBD)

These elements will be combined in order to create a unified whole.  The show is about the process as much as it is about the product.  Each of the above with overlap with one another.

In the following, I will lay out the parameters for this exploration.  I will explain why each part is necessary.  And I will raise questions that I would like to explore.


Part One: Performance

(the subway ride)

This marathon ride begins the process.  As New Yorkers, we ride with one another all the time.  Yet, we connect very little.  One can be absolutely crammed into a subway car full of people, and still feel so completely alone.  And this is how we spend so much of our time during the week, commuting.  New Yorkers have one of the longest commutes out of any area in the country.

For this part of the piece, Troy David Mercier and I (Jeffrey Stingerstein) will “commute” for 24 hours straight, and begin preparation for the rest of the piece.  We will follow these rules for our commute:

  1. We cannot talk to one another at any point during the commute
  2. We can communicate in other ways, if we choose
  3. We will document our trip in four mediums
    1. videos
    2. text
    3. photographs
    4. audio
  4. I will write a solo piece for Troy to perform, with the following considerations
    1. if a viewer arrives to view the ride (scheduling details TBA), then he or she may hand me something, tell me something, or in some other way interact with me, and I will
      1. use whatever I am given as part of the solo piece
      2. write a brief monologue, poem, or other text for Troy to immediately perform on the train (the audience member will be given the index card it is written on, as work they may keep)
      3. photograph the index card and include it on the Facebook page we post to while riding
    2. the solo piece may be edited later, but this is the basis for the production at the end of February (it will incorporate videos, photos, and sound)
  5. We will continuously commute for these 24 hours with breaks only to eat and use the restroom.  Audience’s will know where to join us based on a schedule that will be posted online.


Part Two: Video

We will capture the experience of the ride and the experience of isolation via video, both Instagram and high quality.  There will, of course, be complexity to it, so they may well evolve, with an increasing or decreasing sense of isolation, or, even, a transcendence.  The videos will come in the following forms:

  1. Periodic 15 second Instagram videos that are uploaded during the trip, and therefore connect with the Social Media art.
  2. Every hour there will be a 15 second “Troy video” that show Troy in whatever way he exists at that moment, exhaustion and all.
    1. The “Troy videos” may or may not be uploaded on Social Media
    2. The video will be compiled into a single “Troy video”
    3. The videos will be used in the solo piece
  3. General documentation for the solo show and Facebook


Part Three: Photography

Throughout the trip, we will take photographs that will ultimately be included on Facebook, and in print format at the solo performance.


Part Four: Text

At the start of each leg of the trip, we will write a short text piece that will be posted to Facebook (when we have a connection).  The piece will be written one line at a time.  One of us will write and line and pass it to the next person and to audience members present.  The piece will find its own conclusion.


Part Five: Sound

Throughout the ride we will record sounds that are distinctive, which capture the sense of being there, and which will be used in the solo show for audio effects.


Part Six: Social Media

Throughout the ride, we will post live to Facebook.  Obviously, we can only do this above ground and in the stations that have a connection, so the posts will at times come out in a burst, but it will be an attempt to communicate the experience to anyone anywhere who tunes in.


Part Seven: Solo Play

I will write a short solo show in response to the experience.