Allan Kaprow’s Travelog Reinvented with MOCA

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Lux et Obscuritas: Nicholas Christenfeld in San Diego, California

Nicholas Christenfeld with two graduate students, Kadimah Elson and Britta Larson, engaged people in the cereal aisle of local San Diego supermarkets in their project Lux et Obscuritas. Christenfeld describes the project, consisting of Kadimah Elson as distinctly goth and Britta Larson distinctly not, “as asking patrons which cereal they would recommend as appropriate for her, and then, if the patron was willing, was photographed with the cereal and its recommender, and, regardless, purchased the cereal.” He then analyzed the data and created charts categorizing the information.

What makes some people say “um” so often? Is one healthier with female friends? Why in baseball is the season ten times longer than in football? Do people resemble their babies? Are men and women equally concerned about their partner’s infidelity? Can one be tickled by a machine? Would it kill you to live in New York City? Those are among the questions, bringing the tools of experimental social psychology to bear on everyday behavior, that Christenfeld has addressed in his roughly two decades in the field, and which comprise a part of his job as a psychology professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Two female graduate students, one distinctly goth (Kadimah Elson), and one distinctly not (Britta Larson), took turns, in the cereal aisle of local markets, asking patrons which cereal they would recommend as appropriate for her, and then, if the patron was willing, was photographed with the cereal and its recommender, and, regardless, purchased the cereal.

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