I propose that Ann Arbor become the home
of the Blue Puddle International: 24-hour party town that put
politics in the service of art. If you feel like a puddle of blue
in a sea of red or just someone who is willing to drop the
corporate media onslaught in order to build something better, get
in touch.

Zack Denfeld

The Blue Puddle International Manifesto:

We demand that public spaces be erected and protected. We demand
that chance encounters between varying social groups are promoted
and ensured in all urban design and that no one is allowed to
reinforce his narrow worldview by erecting gated communities. We
demand that cities are explored and not consumed. We will make maps
and lead tours. Learning needs to spill out of the classroom and
into the streets.

Kids, don’t wait for the old generation to take you there,
they can’t even vote right.

How do you become invisible?

First of all lose, your name, and make up three more. In the
21st century, everyone who is sane will need a few handles they can
drop in and out of.

Be like the ninja who learns “how to shorten distances by
shrinking the earth (Nam June Paik).” Continue to create our
own roads and paths within and outside the World Wide Web traffic
jam. The war for information democracy is being fought and won in
our own backyard. Keep the tags and stickers coming. Make hobo
signs with chalk for everything useful to citizens as opposed to
consumers. Let’s paint bikes white and leave them everywhere
like the Dutch Provos.

Let’s have flash mob-generated, city-wide costume
holidays. If half the kids in your class showed up in costume
everyone, can at least rejoice in the upside-down world we live
in.

Make solutions to problems that don’t exist yet. I believe
that engineers should not have to make weapons in order to survive.
Let’s erect sculptures of Buckminster Fuller and inflatable
buildings on North Campus. Let your engineering friends know that
you want them to make stuff that is fun, silly and self directed.
They shouldn’t have to make weapons of death for governments.
How about weapons of self defense for citizens facing the
information onslaught? The recent invention and release of TVBGone,
which turns off any annoying TV, is a good example of an engineer
helping citizens take control of their mental environment.

We insist that educators teaching design and engineering classes
challenge students to begin projects that have no commercial value.
Insist on design that does not make interactions more controlled,
but more liberating.

Right now, designers make benches for malls that prevent people
from sleeping on them or from sitting too long. Who designs benches
for parks that are intended for people to stand on and give
speeches? Who designs for spontaneity, freedom or reflection?

No one makes money from humans reading books or reflecting in
public spaces. Who will ask the hard questions if not our
universities? Who will pay for design that benefits human autonomy
if not public institutions of higher education?

If shopping malls have replaced town greens and parks as the
primary areas of interaction, gathering and discussion, let’s
bring public activity to them.

We can go to Radio Shack and start an electronic drum circle
with the keyboards. Bring movies you’ve made that won’t
be screened anywhere else and put them in the TV monitors and VCR
units that only spit out commercial messages. Go to Hot Topic or
anywhere else that co-opts and packages youth culture and host a
zine release party inside or in front of the store. And make sure
to text message me an invitation.

Date the sons and daughters of the evil empire. Have so much fun
and spread so much love on the parks in the streets and over the
airwaves, they would never think about continuing the
commercialization of every square inch of our world, because they
want to make out in the bushes, yell from the rooftops and draw on
the sidewalks. Organize an Ann Arbor lay-in on the Diag in sleeping
bags and look at the stars at night. Talk about the meaning of
life. I’ll be there even if it is raining.

Take your damn iPod and turn every block into a short-wave radio
station. Put the station frequency on the street signs. We’ll
drive around the city with your audio as our guides.

We will continue to work toward economic, social and
environmental justice. But in addition, and in conjunction, our
spirits need to be fed, inspired and revived.

The Blue Puddle International movement seeks to start a 24-hour
situationist party in town. We will make this art-life party so
dense and powerful that one drop of blue zaniness into the red
storm will turn it from upside down to right-side left. Export the
revolution locally/globally. And don’t forget… have
fun, be silly and make noise!

 

Denfeld can be reached at
“mailto:zcd@umich.edu”>zcd@umich.edu.

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