Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day three, locations six and seven

We observed the chair in 2 separate locations, between the hours of 2:45 and 4:15 on Thursday. For the first 45 minutes, the chair was placed directly in the center of the Benson/Tribble outdoor study area, at the convergence of 4 walkways. This central location, in addition to the fact that many students were just getting out of class at 2:45, made for a lot of strange looks towards the chair initially. This was to be expected, as the chair was nowhere near any other chairs, and is, admittedly, quite ugly. While many people slowed their walk to examine the chair, very few stopped, with some exceptions of course. All in all, 5 people physically sat in the chair during this time. I didn't expect many, so 5 was right around my estimate. At Wake Forest, where the social stigma is so great that many people refuse to cut across the quad, so as not to be judged by their peers, the idea of sitting in such an unsightly chair in the middle of a walkway is ridiculous. Also, the chair’s position was completely exposed to the hot sunlight of the day, unlike the other umbrella-covered tables in the area. The students that did sit in the chair only stayed sitting for a few seconds at the most. What may have been even more interesting than those who sat in the chair was those who walked by without the slightest trace of noticing. I found this fascinating that such a blatant and ugly disturbance to The Everyday garnered zero response from so many people.

Location #6:

Corresponding Photos:

At 3:30, we moved the chair to the Benson patio and had fairly similar results. Although this was a time in between classes when there was a bit of a lull on campus, the chair was now in a sitting area amidst other chairs, and therefore it didn't seem as strange for those passing by. People found it more realistic to accept that another chair, however uncomfortable it appears, was placed here, rather than in the middle of a walkway. What was an interesting observation, however, was the fact that the other students sitting at Benson kept shooting dirty glances over at the chair, as if they expected it get up and walk away. All in all, during the 45 minutes on top on the Benson patio, we had 5 more students sit in the chair, and they seemed more at ease than the few who had sat in it while on the walkway. They also sat on it for a longer period of time than at the Tribble/Benson location. One final observation I noted was that no adults of any kind made any slight attempt to sit in the chair whatsoever.

Location #7:

Corresponding photos:

Day two, locations three, four, and five

The chair was moved to three different locations today. The first of the three locations was the semi-circle lawn in front of Greene Hall (where the departments of psychology and romance languages reside, respectively). The area routinely greets professors and students alike for cigarette breaks, after class discussions, and other daily pleasures that can be had on beautiful day.
As the chair was being transported to the location, I had a run in with its first encounter. I literally had to leave it on the backside between Manchester and Greene so I could legally park my car. As I walked towards the spot, I encountered a few people standing around it and one sitting on it. Once they left we set the chair up in the location outside of Greene. Immediately the chair attracted a group exiting Greene, many of which made comments on the chair, saying it was “awesome and strange.” Not long after, a professor found the chair occupying the spot in which he took his cigarette breaks. He didn’t sit in the chair but had a five-minute staring contest with it during his break. The traffic outside Greene slowed down, which justified the twenty or so minute drought in interaction between the Wake Forest community and the chair. During this time we took some observations and noted how different it was from the first day. The chair, in all its locations was often taken notice of, but it seemed that in its new location, people were more inclined to actually sit in it, not just stare or assault it.

Location #3:

Corresponding photos:

Bonus photo between Manchester and Greene:

On that note, we moved the chair to its second location of the day, in the middle of Manchester Quad, or the Mag Quad. This ended up sort of the way we expected to; few, but interesting and prolonged interaction. The amount of people that stopped to see this chair was low, but there were two or three people that literally walked all the way to the center of the quad just to sit on it, stare at it, or just marvel at its queerness. There were a few passers who pointed and whispered about the chair and others who even noticed our conspicuous location below the Magnolia trees, noting that we were observing. Someone even left their back pack on the chair for a little while.

Location #4:

Corresponding photos:

Finally, we made our way towards the area in between the Benson University Center, the Zach Smith Reynolds Library, Tribble Hall, and the Mag Quad. The chair was placed off to the side of the chain-linked statues and was left for a short period of time. This was particularly interesting because it saw almost no interest until one student literally sat down on it and started reading for the remainder of the time he was there. The shade provided a nice area for reading I suppose.

Location #5:

In essence, we did a lot of moving with the chair today. It certainly fostered a great deal of interest and interaction as well as curiosity and inhibition. Depending on the locality, the chair’s overall situated-ness, it spawned several different reactions. Blistering heat without shade in a remote area was the least popular. The most popular area was shady and had quite a nostalgic feel to it, thus providing a more inviting situation.