Friday, September 30, 2011
BMW Guggenheim Lab Presents Love Night
In my effort to produce more positivity and love into my world; on a gorgeous Friday evening; I took myself down to the BMW Guggenheim Lab located on 2nd Avenue and East Houston Street which was a couple of steps away from the subway station. Little did I realize that it is an open space and will be in NYC only until October 16th.
Tonight's event was "Love Night" which brought about new insights in brain science that suggest we are hard-wired for altruism and trust—even among strangers. The Lab invited neuroscientist Paul Zak, psychologist Emanuele Castano, and Kio Stark of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program to help design a party that will bring out the love in even the most hardened New Yorker. This was also in collaboration with: Project for Public Spaces: Photography for Love Night video, Anna Letitia Mumford: Video editing for Love Night video, Ryan V. Brennan: NYC Based Social Performance & Collage Artist, Dr. Sabine Seymour: Director, Fashionable Technology Lab at Parsons The New School for Design and Research assistant Scott Peterman, and the entire class of Fashionable Technology. There were various activities which I will go into detail that involved human emotion and love. I also figured this would be a great pre-cursor before I start the Radical Self Love boot camp.
The first exercise I participated in was "Secret Exercises". I was asked two questions -- if I was a Democrat or Republican (I answered Democrat) and what my favorite colour was (I answered purple). I was then handed a green card with these instructions: This secret assignment was meant to find it's way to you at this moment. Read all instructions carefully before performing secret assignment. Step 1 - Walk throughout the lab looking for someone standing in one spot holding an orange secret assignment card. Step 2 -- Approach this person and ask them what they are thinking about. Step 3 - Put this green assignment in your pocket and follow the instructions on the assignment the person you found gives you. Note -- Try not to get distracted on your search for someone standing with the orange piece of paper as they are in fact waiting for you.
Now since I am a teacher, taking directions was easy. I found someone with an orange card and had a interesting conversation about ice cream. The underlying point of this exercise was to obviously meet someone new and start a conversation. I have no problem in that department; especially if you read my Things I Love Thursday this week!
The next exercise I did was 8 Hugs a Day. Here is the description -- When we hug, hormones are released in the brain that relax us and make it easier to interact with others. Get a hug from neuroeconomist Professor Paul Zak a.k.a. Dr Love then pass it on. Hug ambassadors will be equipped with special garments. Your goal will be to give 8 hugs today. This exercise I overdosed on. I was hugging a lot of people! The garments were modifying t-shirts that were treated with thermochromic dye (hypercolor) that when you touch it the color changes due to the warmth of your skin. It felt really nice to get hugs! The point of this exercise was to break down your walls and to invite people in. I think a lot of New Yorkers might need this lesson....
Next exercise was the Emotional Maps area. Description --- The city is more than a collection of roads, parks, and buildings. It is also a psychological landscape. Together we will create an emotional map of New York City. The map that was used was a NYC Subway Map and had star stickers; a different color star for a different emotion. Because it was dark out I could not really see the colors of the stars all that well so I chose a blue star that apparently stood for Joy. I placed it on 14th Street/Union Square because that is where I get the most joy -- the park, The Strand, Forbidden Planet, Regal Cinemas...I could go on and on!
The next exercise I did; the one I enjoyed the most; was Urbanology. Here is the description -- The Urbanology game has been a hit feature of the lab and lets you work with others to run a city. Come play, meet new people, and build a better city. Urbanology is a game which examines the complex ways in which cities develop. It puts you in charge of your own city by presenting you with a variety of real-world urban dilemmas. Every decision you make impacts your city negatively or positively; often in ways you might not expect. These accumulated impacts build a matrix of priorities for your future city. This matrix can then in turn be compared to the equivalent matrices of real-world cites. At the end of gameplay, a custom algorithm takes eight major categories (innovation, transportation, health, affordability, wealth, lifestyle, sustainability, and livability) into account, and then calculates the closest real-world equivalent to the city you've created.The game experience for Urbanology was developed by Local Projects, and the physical design was created by ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]. Basically it was a live version of Sim City. I controlled the Wealth icon. The way the game worked was there was 8 questions and the people around you all had to vote yes or no. Votes were tabulated and results were given. Based on the results of the voting you move your token. This exercise for myself was the highlight of the night for me -- it rekindled my love of debate. The end results of the game I played was the city I created with the help of others had the livability of Berlin, the sustainability of Johannesburg, the transportation of Shanghai, the lifestyle of Stockholm, and the wealth of Mexico City (at which point I screamed great we are fucking poor!) If you have a chance to play go down to the lab on Wednesday from 1pm to 5pm.
After the game, I got myself a hot cocoa and made my way home. Overall this event was a lot of fun. I plan on checking out more of the Lab's events before it departs on October 16th.