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behind, zentai, public

Long time no post?

Posted on 2007.12.14 at 15:07
(Well, the first incarnation of this post was lost to IE7's quirkiness. Let's try this again.)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's been quite awhile since the last post, and I do apologize for that. This has been mostly an issue of finals. Finals for studio art majors essentially consist of several weeks of hellacious pushing towards the end of projects. On the few occasions I did manage to grab the time (two hours or so are required) to post, I didn't manage to muster the wherewithal to do so. Ani herself, however, hasn't been latent since the last post. She's been out four times, once with our dear photographer Steve Arrelin...and she's gotten some recognition outside of the suit, too. I've got a super-fun entry for you today to try to make up for the delay!

Last week, the girl behind Ani headed up to the front of the class in street clothes and explained just what the heck was going on this semester. The reception, really, was quite wonderful; my classmates seemed genuinely intrigued and enthusiastic about the project. The traditional "stare silently at the professor for ninety-three percent of each class" rule didn't apply here, and I was thrilled to field twenty or thirty questions. According to the class, the "whole Psychology building" has been talking about Ani and just trying to figure her out. Too fun!

The icing on the cake was that, not only was the talk enjoyable, but there's an almost missionary-like satisfaction in feeling that a lot of the students left with a clarified idea of just what performance art is. That was wonderful.

Before beginning my talk, the class graciously agreed to jot down their ideas about Ani and what it was like to have her in class. These were collected and, for your viewing pleasure and my own, here they are. To remind you of context, I'll point out that this class title is "Abnormal Psychology."


Thought it was very weird, but I knew there was some sort of experiment behind it. Eager to find out what the experiment is. Since you went to all these regular places, did you scare anyone or get any funny reactions? [Editor: I think my readers can answer that one. ;)]

Anonymous

Class projects are always strange, just another day in college.

Adam Holderm


I thought you might have a phobia or something. You know, like you're afraid of human contact or germs maybe. Then I got to thinking it was just for attention. And after that, I thought it was maybe for an experiment.

Anonymous

Assumed you were doing a study on people's reactions.

Anonymous

I knew she was doing an experiment, but didn't know what type. I thought it was crazy @ first. Then I realized after a week what could be happening or taking place.

Karl Lujan

At first I was completely thrown off by the blue body suit! I thought, "this girl is just crazy and trying to get a rise out of people." But then as the weeks went by in the semester, I started to assume this was a psychology experiment of some sort. Either way, I'm sure it made her life easier b/c she didn't have to debate over what she'd wear that day.

Jenn Adamson

After first seeing the "blue suit" I thought maybe it was being worn as an experiment to see how classmates would react to the suit. After talking it over with others who had seen the "blue suit" we thought whoever was wearing it may have an allergy to the sun, and the suit protected against UV rays!

Anonymous

I thought maybe she had some sort of skin disorder and she was embarassed and didn't want anyone to see it. I also thought maybe she was allergic to the sun so that covered her from it.

Anonymous

- I got scared once but then realized it was you.
- I thought it was interesting and figured it was some kind of an experiment.

Anonymous

I figured you were doing some kind of project/experiment. I thought you were trying to see how people reacted to you. I thought you had some guts to be wearing such a form fitting outfit. :)

Anonymous

When I first saw you, I did a double take! But seeing as that we were in abnormal psych. together, I thought "whatever, to each her own!" But needless to say, I wanted to ask you why you dressed like that, but I couldn't. Now I'm glad you're explaining this!

Randi Droll

Thought maybe was a medical condition from the sun, or some kind of study of psych.

Anonymous

Is this person going to use some sort of microscopic equipment to read the thoughts I think about the differentiation of appearance?

P.J. Whitehead

Thought she was doing some type of experiment on peer interaction - Do people treat people different based on appearance

Anonymous

When I first saw you I thought perhaps the suit had something to do with bondage or S&M.
Very interesting I might add!

Jamie Boswell

I believe the blue lady is an experiment to see how people react to her. maybe like a modern day racism study, like how people used to treat blacks, seeing if they react in similar ways.

Anonymous

At first I thought I was seeing things. Is there really a person dressed in all blue. I thought it was a brave thing to do. Never would I have the guts to do that, but wearing a mask who is to know.

Anonymous

I figured it was some type of psychological experiment. Felt sorry for you because some days it was really hot. [Editor: And how!]

Anonymous

I was shocked at first when I saw her but then I just figured she was doing some sort of experiment for a psych. class.

Anonymous

I have to say I was freaked out at first. I didn't really know what to think but then after a while it didn't bother me. I think I just figured something was wrong with your skin or you were hiding your face. It never crossed my mind that it was art.

Erin McWilliams

I thought the blue person was some outlandish expression of art.

Anonymous

I thought that maybe there's some sort of event going on.
Maybe she was a mascot for something.

Anonymous

1. At first I thought you were conducting a psychological experiment.

2. When I spoke to you about what you were doing, you said that it was an art project and at first I wasn't quire sure how it could be an art project.

3. When I approached you to ask you what you were doing, you were very nice and patient. Thank you for that! :) [Editor: Thank you!]

Sandi

I was taken back when I first saw you, but (to be honest) nothing really surprises me. After seeing you around, I figured it had to do with some type of art expression or experiment.

Teresa Cullison
42 yrs. old
goal: Special Education Teacher

I knew it was you!
(I was in Forsyth's class with you.)

I didn't think the "Lady in Blue" was weird; just thought it was an experiment!

Denise


Many, many thanks to all the writers of these comments! The time and thoughts are most appreciated. If you want your name added to an anonymous comment or want it removed from a non-anonymous one, you can e-mail me at silkspinner@gmail.com to let me know. Also feel free to similarly prod me if your comment isn't here and was supposed to be. I didn't intentionally exclude any, but it is possible that I misplaced a paper or somesuch. If you have anything else you'd like to say or add, feel free to leave a comment on this post. You don't need to be a member of Livejournal to do so.

To answer a few questions raised by the class here as well:

Q: Did you feel self-conscious about wearing that tight, showy suit in public?
A: More or less, yes. I'm not exactly swimsuit model material and don't particularly like my body...but I do accept it for what it is. Also, the extensive undergarments (the entire area from the bra to mid-thigh is covered) do help to feel decent, even when the visual change is only slight.

Q: How is this art?
A: "Conceptual Art" theory aside...seeing Ani sit in a classroom, grab a coffee, walk down the hall, or even completely mind her own business is an image that will stay with you for a very long time. That concept and mental image, so very tangible an interactive, is something that you tell friends about, that you talk about at the dinner table, and that will be remembered possibly for years to come. Not many paintings or sculptures can claim that same level of impact.

Q: Do you feel that this suit is a stigma of sorts?
A: I post this question because it's the only one that stumped me. I'm the sort of person who processes new ideas slowly and deliberately, so this answer wasn't yet clarified in my head. No, I wouldn't consider the suit a stigma...simply because, like the "A" of The Scarlet Letter, "stigma" implies that people know what it means. While the suit does set me aside in a strikingly similar manner, it lends itself more to a "fear of the unknown" sort of reaction rather than a revulsion against a known transgression.

However, for the sake of different, valid viewpoints, the girl who posed this question did offer an alternative answer: yes, the suit's a stigma because it indicates oddity. Strangeness is something to be ostracized regardless of whether it's understood.

Q: Do people of different ages react differently to the blue person?
A: Definitely. The most accepting group, by and large, was the teen and twenty-something crowd. The least accepting was the sixty plus demographic...although I can think of specific, outstanding exceptions to both rules. 


I'm having difficulty remembering some of the other questions asked...at least, the ones that haven't already been answered many times over in this blog. Most of them are details that the dedicated readers among you could have answered just as well as me. :)


As for this experiment: Ani's time isn't entirely over, but it is winding down for the winter. A couple more posts will be made in the next week or so to cover some of the jaunts in the last couple of weeks (photographs, an art museum, and a library are all involved!) After that, this blog will be one to move into the "check occasionally" section of your bookmarks. Ani isn't ending by any means, she's way too cool for that and will update occasionally afterward...but won't keep to any semblance of a weekly schedule. She'll definitely been attending the opening of the CSU-Pueblo Student Show in the Spring, for one...at least, she will if her project is accepted as an exhibit! 

This project has been very successful --not to mention educational-- in any case, and a full revival is entirely possible in the future. Ani is really quite fun when she doesn't have to keep to a strict schedule. Once the girl behind her has had a bit of a break, she'll probably be quite willing to take Ani out frequently again...though probably once the weather warms. ;) Thank you all for your continued readership, and here's to many good jaunts in the future!


Ani's most recent adventure was run in the company of SA, a photographer for art, journalism, and personal fulfillment. We were originally going to go to the library and art museum, but plans changed when signs were posted around campus advertising...a holistic fair. Talk about fantastic opportunities for interesting interaction!

For those  of you not familiar with Holistic Fairs, they're essentially gatherings of vendors for both holistic medicine (medicine that takes care of the whole self; mind, body, and spirit, including massage, aromatherapy, music, and herbal supplements, among many others,) and assorted new age paraphernalia, and also tend to be a good outlet for care products in general that have laid off the artificial chemicals. Many aspects of them are the continuation of hippie culture, and although this particular one wasn't tied to a metaphysical fair (which they often are,) the participants do tend to pride themselves on being open minded.

Now, who's everyone's favorite blank American to put this to the test?

Without further ado...
Oops. A little further ado. There's an admission charge. Hello, ATM!


These lovely ladies were quite attentive and very nice, one of my first encounters upon walking through the door. We talked for a good ten minutes, I believe.


Now, this next lady...she was fun. Straight-up amusing. I liked her quite a bit. She offered to examine Ani's eyes for free. Such generosity!

This gentleman was also very nice! These three sets of vendors were right in a row. The day was promising to be duly pleasant...and very long, as it had taken about twenty minutes to walk fifteen feet.


Does this match my eyes? I should ask the lady above, she'd know...


Ani got to talk to some very nice people...


Some a bit more cautiously apprehensive than others.


Others preferred to look from a distance.


There were lots of pretty things to look right back at...


And SA managed to grab quite a few artfully lovely shots out an enjoyable day.

In case anyone's wondering, an annual prank involves filling the fountain with soap suds.

SA and Ani a lot of fun. The tone and reactions of the day were more overwhelmingly positive than any previous jaunt (not counting Halloween, which really shouldn't be considered in the continuity,) and the pictures turned out lovely. Feel free to heap on the praise for them...SA doesn't have the password to this account, so he can't do a thing about me saying that he's very good at what he does!


behind, zentai, public

Yo

Posted on 2007.11.06 at 14:40
 Hello there. Today's entry is going to be delayed...but with good reason, I promise! ;)

I don't have time right now to sort and resize all of the lovely pictures from a jaunt to a fun event. I'll try to get this up tonight, else tomorrow...our new resident photographer, who's elected to go by SA, is very good (despite his best and quintessentially artistic efforts to proclaim the contrary) and picking just a few pictures to post is not going to be any facsimile of an easy task.

See you soon!


halloween silver surfer

Happy Halloween! Love, Ani.

Posted on 2007.10.31 at 20:56
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ani had a very enjoyable evening. Also, it is profoundly difficult to see out of metallic zentai suits. In several cases, I thought that I was addressing a male when it turns out it wasn't...or vice versa. Also, a padded railing was bumped and apologized to.

As was repeated all evening...look, it's the Silver Surfer!


Aww...how sweet.



Oops! They multiplied!


Cheese! Two of many.



So...yeah. 'Sup?


Shiny objects that walk are even more interesting than normal shiny objects. And, as we all know, this is saying a lot.


Many flashes tonight from many directions. It was very difficult to keep track of my photographer without being able to see well.


I agree, kid. It's exhausting being a star, and...hey! Put that back in!


Ani has a test tomorrow, so she won't be out and about. I think the early jaunt makes up for it, though. She won't be totally neglected, though...tomorrow she gets to meet with the previously mentioned hopefully-photographer tomorrow to talk turkey! He already has some fun ideas and I've agreed to help model for his own portfolio, so with a little luck, this will be productive for all involved.

Happy Halloween, everyone!


behind, zentai, public

Drama!

Posted on 2007.10.30 at 14:48
Not a lot of drama, but drama regardless. Today was very warm, and there seems to be a correlation between the temperature and how dramatically people react while outside.

Before that, though, at the end of class, a girl turned around and finally asked me about the suit. This is a much bigger deal than it sounds like. The people in that class who have heard what the suit is about [i]happened[/i] to overhear it when the professor asked. She's the first to proactively make the inquiry. Yay her! The prize is a business card.

Passing a stairwell outside, there was some very dramatic "oh my gosh, oh my gosh," repeated three or four times, along with strikingly loud laughter. Not so much nervous laughter, I think, as "WTF?" laughter.

I then headed over to the art and music area of the campus on an unrelated errand, and was immediately struck by how overwhelmingly more positive reactions are there. Some fellows talking in the parking lot didn't see me until the last second, but rather than the startled reaction normally to be expected in this situation, one laughed and noted "that is cool."

I adore art and music students, I really do.

In other news, there's a gallery opening tonight in Canon City! Ani won't be in attendance, but the girl under her will be, wearing a grey and black dress. It's a Halloween-themed show, ranging from dark art to dios de las muertos style pieces (and probably seasonal things, too, I've only seen a few) put on by many talented artists, including my own most recent painting, and should be a lot of fun. This will take place at McClellan's Grill and Brewing, 413 Main St., Canon City, CO 81215. I believe it starts at 6 p.m. (goodness but I wish I could find my copy of the flier,) today, October 30th. 

Although the opening is tonight, the show will be up through November 19th, so be sure to check it out if you're passing through the area!


behind, zentai, public

Aack!

Posted on 2007.10.25 at 14:54
 Well, it finally happened. This absent-minded girl missed an update. So sorry about that, ladies, and gentlemen...I could have sworn that I made a quick "see you Thursday!" post, but evidentally not. Ani didn't go out on Tuesday as the chick beneath her is busily battling the demons spewing from the Temple of Deadline Doom and really couldn't spare the time. The Judgement Day still approacheth (tomorrow), actually, but two missed posts in a week is just a bit much.

Anyway, whining aside, Ani did go to class today...though the day wasn't off to an auspicious start. As has already been aptly demonstrated, much spaciness ensues when I have a pressure-laden goal, even to the detriment of routine obligations. This led to the "smelling the laundry" dance made famous by teens and bachelors. Luckily, the older suit had only been donned for a couple of hours since its last wash, and on a cold day that was spent just sitting in class. No sweat, no smell, and then there was a joyous outcry from the olfactory receptors that were going to be trapped behind it for the next couple of hours.

Once on campus, there was a small crowd gathered outside the Psych building for whatever reason. Most people were off and talking to one another, likely a class or club that had just dismissed. Ani walked through them, but if there any overt reactions, they were behind her. Our resident Blank-American wasn't even able to put the brakes on any of the conversations today. She must be losing her touch.

Class was uneventful as well. Ani continues to be treated like a normal person. Also, I'm getting better at loudly annunciating in the suit, so I don't need to repeat questions three to four times. Of course, concentration on that process occasionally leads to forgetting the question halfway through...eternal fun!

The most notable event of the day was included in my walk back to the parking lot. A college-aged fellow sized me up a bit as we approached one another, smiled, and said "Good Afternoon." Just that, in an absolutely polite and friendly tone, and then we passed one another. Picture this interaction a moment. When's the last time a stranger smiled and verbally greeted you when you passed in a parking lot, much less with the slightly anachronistic, rather proper phrase "Good Afternoon"? It was an exceedingly pleasant little moment, really.

I can't conclusively say whether the greeting itself was special to Ani, or whether this fellow makes a habit of this. I'd have to guess that it's a combination of both. I know at least two people who make a game of being very nice to passing strangers, particularly in large, impersonal cities, just to see their reactions.

In other news,  I received an e-mail this morning from our news photographer friend! I did get the impression that he's interested in art and documentation as opposed to a news story, but this is still fantastic news. Hopefully there will be new pictures for you lovely readers in the near future.

Also, thank you for all of the lovely birthday greetings last week!  They were quite appreciated, I assure you. :)


behind, zentai, public

Short Day

Posted on 2007.10.18 at 14:32
Today Ani just went to class. It was really quite an uneventful day. The only particularly notable reaction involved a fellow standing in the hall turning to watch me as I walked outside.

I did run by Taco Bell on the way home, though of course I'm banned from that particular establishment and couldn't go inside. My hood was down in the drive-through, and this was the first time anyone's ever said something about noticing the gloved suit below. It was the employee at the first drive-through window who noted it. He smiled, looking fairly amused, and asked me "what was going on at school." I hadn't been in an Ani mindset at the moment and had to shift mental gears to respond, so I can only hope that my explanation was less clumsy than I suspect it was. I did give him a business card for the blog. He was very amused when I explained that I wasn't allowed inside.

No progress or new news otherwise. Between today being the girl behind Ani's birthday...and, mostly, some big deadlines fast approaching,  Ani's not going to be pushed further today.


behind, zentai, public

Autumn and Meetings

Posted on 2007.10.16 at 15:54
Today was quite cool.Literally, I mean. Not cold exactly, but enough that any gust of wind set me to shivering in just the suit.  (Note for future reference that I shiver quite easily.) I definitely need to procure some long underwear or somesuch to start experimenting with what goes on under the suit before it gets truly frigid.

Class and campus were quite average. A few interesting reactions. Stares, pauses. Nothing worth reporting. After this, Ani headed over to the art department for a scheduled meeting with the professor sponsoring the project. Once in that building, it was quickly remembered why I try to never let Ani onto that part of campus. Although it's nice to be in an environment where taken aback passersby immediately ask whether it's performance art. I was recognized twice based on my voice. Oops!

A friend mentioned that she'd never have known who I was if I hadn't spoken. Well-hidden physically, but Ani's not mute. Oh well.

The meeting with the professor, CP, went well. Nothing groundbreaking, as CP and I see one another regularly in passing.  Almost everything said has been in the blog at some point. She loaned me an interesting book on other performance art pieces, some of which were similar on some level or another. 

One point of interest: a fellow from the school newspaper "is interested" in talking to Ani about photos...however, I'm not sure whether this is for art-related personal use or a news story. I do hope that it's the latter. The exposure would be fantastic and possibly assure a few extra people that Ani isn't dangerous and okay to talk to. I left my e-mail address. Hopefully this will go somewhere.


behind, zentai, public

On Race, Altruism, and E-mail

Posted on 2007.10.11 at 14:53

The campus was very quiet today. There was no particular reaction to Ani that I saw, just the now normal interaction between me and other students. The lecture did involve a pathology called "body dysmorphia," which entails an extreme disatisfaction with (and inability to accept) certain features of one's body. A possible response is hiding them. As we were leaving class, I caught the phrase "covered in nylon" wafting past. However, while possible, I didn't catch enough of the conversation to be sure that this was about me.

(For the record, this suit is lycra/spandex, not nylon, but I don't think this detail really matters. I've worked in a fabric department, and personal experience says that people very often can't differentiate similar fabrics.)

After this, on a whim, Ani headed off to Starbucks...and arranged a tricky little experiment in the car.

The baristas, as per an average reaction when I corner clerks, reacted with nervous laughter. One noted that Halloween comes early. I quickly stepped in with a chipper drink order...which, in subtext, means "I come in peace: take me to your coffee!"

The total owed was $3.06. I set two bills on the counter...and, ever the troublesome customer, some change.

"I have a tremendous amount of difficulty counting change in the suit. I can't see it well, and have trouble separating coins with the gloves. Can you help me?"

And she did. The catch? I had meticulously totalled the amount of change I had in the car. I totalled it again after I left. Underhanded, I readily admit, but interesting, and the results were heartening: the amount was exactly right. She had even asked whether I had a nickel to make better change. Now, I'll grant that if you're going to take advantage of someone, the best target isn't necessarily an obvious social oddball with potential psychoses. 

Still, the possibility was there and exploited. Kudos, Starbucks lady. :)
The other girl was also quite on the ball. She gave me a promotional coupon that could have been easily forgotten amidst the oddity.

Once outside, I was stopped by a very nice couple who asked about the suit, mentioning that they wanted to see whether what they had theorized (they'd seen me walking in) was accurate. I didn't want to explain until they agreed to give me their own thoughts. After all, Ani is all about reactions. The more unadulterated, the better!

Their thoughts (and, although I'm lumping them together, there did seem to be some digression between them,) as it turned out, centered again on the racial erasure issue. The fellow worded it well. To paraphrase: "I think it's about how everyone is equal, no matter what the race." After all, I'm not white, black, hispanic, Asian, pacific islander/other, or any other census classification. I'm a blue-American.

This seems to be by far the most common interpretation amongst the educated people who approach me. "Educated," for the record,  is being measured by how articulate they are. I've tried to withhold imparting any high-nosed "proper interpretations" or artist-defined meetings from the project. However, this one, by the grace of viewers, seems to be entwining itself very solidly into Ani's public-defined "identity." In a way, other people are shaping her just as much as I am.

We had a nice little chat, though brief. The brevity was my fault, really, I should have lingered longer. Anyway, I had set my promotional coupon on the ground to take give them an Ani's Adventures business card, and couldn't pick it back up with the gloves. They were kind enough to help me and retrieve it. This brings up an interesting point.

Ani is not only an oddball. She's an oddball with a slight disability. She has trouble seeing. She has trouble picking things up and separating things. My classmates in Abnormal Psychology have consistently helped her overcome these. The baristas today helped her. The couple on the patio helped her. Ani is a very strange creature, but she's still been on the receiving end of quite a bit of of altruism.

It's quite the warm and fuzzy feeling, really, and we'll end today's report on that note.

In other news, I am very grateful to the people who have e-mailed me, but I've been having a lot of trouble with several web pages recently. I don't know why...but, unfortunately, gmail is one of them. I will respond to these via workarounds just as soon as I can, and apology for the delay. I have also received error messages when I try to respond to text messages on my cell phone, which likely has something to do with my plan. (I don't normally text.)

If you'd like to contact me, feel free to add me to MSN messenger with the address Guardian_Topaz@hotmail.com . I can almost guarantee that there will be no problems with this method. I work online, thus, if it says "busy," it's going to be more or less true.  Ani, however, is part of my job as a practicing artist, and I'm almost always willing to chat about her or answer any questions that you have in real time. :)



behind, zentai, public

A Bright Sunshiney Day

Posted on 2007.10.10 at 16:47
Today's the first time I've walked in the suit with the hood down. This was because I needed to go to the post office, and am still quite leery of any situation the words "federal offense" could potentially be uttered. I was asked whether I was a cyclist.

Then, hood up, it was off to the grocery store. It was quite crowded, and reactions were fun, not to mention several positive. Lots of little old ladies stared over an equal number of shoulders, a pair of gentlemen were interested and I heard "that is awesome" once my back was turned, and, of course, there was the obligatory dosage of nervous laughter. In the produce department, a little boy echoed the precise word "awesome," which amused me. The most dramatic reaction has always struck when I approach someone from the side or behind and they don't see me coming.

For the record, you know how very difficult those plastic bags in the produce depart are to open with bare fingers? Try it with gloves.

I realized as I headed up to the checkouts that I wouldn't be able to use the automated checking machines, which make me more comfortable. I had fresh produce and would need to look it up in the computer...which would be tricky, considering low visibility and absent glasses. Thus, I headed to a human cashier. She pretended to ignore the suit. We talked about the weather. She's a winter person, too, as it turns out.

Then it was off for home, to some more startled people in the entryway and parking lot.

In other news, I may have a photographer! More on this as details come.


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