Oh my, this is sooooo groovy.
‘Following “The Man of the Crowd”‘ is a 24-hour walk in which two participants, linked by text messaging, drift separately through the city in an alternating pattern according to the movements of strangers. Based loosely on Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Man of the Crowd” and inspired by Vito Acconci’s 1967 “Following Piece,” Ray and Walton have developed a collaborative performance that involves following strangers over a 24-hour period. Working as a team connected only through text messaging, the two will alternate turns following selected strangers through New York City.
While one participant is “following,” the other participant is resting, or “not following.” When the first participant’s stranger becomes “un-followable,” by entering the private space of a building or taking a taxi, for example, a text message is sent to activate the second participant who locates a new stranger to follow. The two participants, Ray and Walton, will enact this alternating cycle throughout the 24-hour period. While “on” they’ll maintain an intense awareness of a single stranger and his or her unknown destination. While “off,” they’ll rest and experience their present location. The switch from one participant to the other will be determined by the actions of the strangers, and may be exhaustingly rapid or frustratingly slow.
… The duration of the ‘Following “The Man of the Crowd”‘ project is not only a reflection of Poe’s story of obsession and endurance, but is also an expression of Ray and Walton’s desire to experience the city and its residents at all hours. Their hope is that strangers will lead them down paths never before taken as they weave a complex double route of randomness facilitated by the silent signals of mobile messages.