Fat Art Lessons

(Before I dive in, let me draw your attention to a recap of the Fat Art show I did for the China Music Radar blog! Also, if you want a thorough description of the installation I did for the show in collaboration with Chen Hangfeng, check out my previous post on the subject.)

I’m trying to imagine what my reaction would be if I were to check out the Fat Art show as an impartial observer. According to the show introduction, “Music to My Eyes is an art exhibition with a difference: in each of the works created for the project, sound is an integral part of the visual presentation.” But it’s really not such a unique concept; I’ve seen many shows that try to do more or less the same thing, one at Duolun a few years back, that tent annex at the Shanghai Biennial in 2004, a recent Shanghai MOCA show, etc.

Not only is it not such an original idea, but it’s also not particularly well-advised; every time I go to one of these multimedia installation spectaculars, the result is cacophony, where no piece has the sonic space it requires to say its piece, and if a good piece is even to be found, it’s usually lost in the din. Even the current Nam June Paik show at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts suffers from this problem (it’s the worst of both worlds, in fact; the sound is thin and weak, yet still manages to bleed through from piece to piece).

And now, I, too, have fallen victim.

A critical aspect of my piece is that it’s processing real-time sound coming from two microphones positioned around the gallery. It’s an audio corollary to a kaleidoscope, performing the same kind of function that Hangfeng’s video piece does, fracturing the everyday world into something unexpected and, I think, beautiful. So when noise from other pieces in the show makes it impossible to tell that the sound on the speakers is a manipulated live feed, or even to distinguish what sound is coming from my installation as opposed to the piece next door, the point of the piece is lost. In this context, I have to say, my piece fails.

But of course, some of life’s most important lessons are born of failure, so I’ve done my best to derive some helpful maxims, some logistical, some practical, some aesthetic, to keep in mind for future work. The comments that follow are not necessarily limited to Fat Art, but are culled from my experiences and frustrations with a number of sound art exhibitions over the years, issues that were very much on my mind while installing our piece.

Most important: make sure you’re prepared to handle the unique challenges presented by a show of all sound-producing works.
I’ve never seen a show all sound-producing works in which the pieces didn’t bleed into each other and diminish the experience. I think this is simply because most galleries and show organizers are not equipped to deal with sound. To successfully pull off a show like this requires the expertise of an acoustician and an audio engineer.

An understanding of the sound that will be generated by each piece is essential in determining the layout of the show, not just from description, but from actually hearing it (a challenge, of course, when the pieces are being developed specifically for the show, but one that must be addressed). Someone with some acoustical background should work to improve the acoustics of the gallery space (typically an afterthought) and help to sonically isolate pieces (typically a stab in the dark). An audio engineer’s expertise is needed when laying cables and positioning speakers, as well, to ensure that, for example, power cables and audio cables are not all run side by side (thus incurring interference). Finally, someone with trained ears also needs to be there to mix and set levels for the entire show in a systematic manner.

Given the proliferation of sound art, I’d say there’s a need for a new type of specialized “sound curator” to emerge to handle issues related to sound art and sound in galleries.

Not everything in a show about sound needs to generate sound.
There seems to be a pervasive assumption that if one sound-producing work is good, then a whole show of them is even better. But even apart from the practical considerations of acoustical isolation, the issue of aesthetic isolation remains. Exhibitions often derive their strength from a dialog between pieces, but in most new media shows, where pieces are often corralled into little cattle stalls (as with a recent exhibit at the South River Art Center), the goal is usually just the opposite.

A show about music or sound doesn’t need to include exclusively sound-producing works. There are so many mute images that nonetheless suggest rhythm or sound or music in their form or subject matter, and a sound installation might well benefit from proximity to visual works. I remember seeing an excellent Christian Marclay show at the Seattle Art Museum in 2004 that pulled this balance off expertly. Liu Ye’s paintings didn’t really need to have music by the artists depicted playing in the same room on an endless loop; maybe another piece in the show could have served as a soundtrack. A record label like Modern Sky could also capitalize on its album art, for example, the fine prints Jonathan Leijonhufvud created for the latest ReTROS album (actually on sale just around the corner at the Today Art Museum gift shop).

Bring your own gear.
We initially agreed that Hangfeng and I would provide all of our own equipment. This would allow us to work with the final hardware and ensure everything was functioning properly before arriving in Beijing. But then, in an effort to cut costs, it was decided that the museum would furnish all the gear instead. So I was greeted with a pair of “Vocal King” karaoke monitors when I arrived at the space, not exactly the “Tannoy 5A or equivalent” I had specified. And all of the mismatched projectors that had showed up for the various pieces that required them (including six for our piece) had to be sent back, as they were not up to snuff. Getting the cheapest gear ended up costing more money, time, and frustration in the end.

On the other hand, I believe Mathieu Borysevicz located all of his own gear, which allowed him to get up and running a lot sooner. I’m going to insist more firmly on this in the future.

Pay attention to acoustics.
According to the Fat Art magazine that doubles as the show’s catalogue, the Xinjiang artist Aniwar intended to create “a realm complete and utter silence,” in which the only sound would be “the rise and fall of the breath, the pounding of blood in the veins, the roar of silence in the ears.” His comments closely mirror John Cage’s often repeated account of his visit to an anechoic chamber (in which, instead of silence, he was surprised to hear two sounds: the high frequency buzz of his nervous system and the low frequency throb of his circulatory system [a claim which always struck me as somewhat scientifically specious]) to an extent that I doubt is coincidental.

But if you want to build an anechoic chamber, you don’t turn to an abstract painter. His main technique was to line the walls with bolts of felt. In the end, the installation doesn’t even look finished, with bolts of felt standing next to the entrance, which suggests to me that when the other pieces started making sound (including a video looping right outside his room’s open door), he kind of gave up on the idea.

Given this approach, complete silence was clearly not going to happen. But when I popped in to check on progress halfway through installation, I was nonetheless struck by the sudden change in acoustical space. Museums (especially the renovated warehouses and factories popular in China) are generally not conceived with a consideration for acoustics, and with all the construction and yelling going on as people were setting up their pieces, his room did have a markedly different feel. I think a lot of the time people don’t pay attention to the acoustical characteristics of the space they’re in until it changes (unless it’s really bad). So this could be something fun to play with in the future, either as an artistic parameter on its own, or just to help set off some other sound-producing element.

Mapping space and time
It’s actually a testament to the catchiness of Ge Fei’s piece that I still don’t mind hearing it on the CD accompanying the Fat Art magazine, even after a week of it seeping through the walls of our installation and interfering with my own sound. You have to read the magazine to realize that the sound is actually derived directly from the painting by Xu Ruotao next to which it was looping. The methods used are not described, but I imagine the technique was to use a tool along the lines of Metasynth to transform an image into a sound. The result was a five minute file that endlessly looped on a portable music player.

From my perspective, the act of mapping between different sets of data is at the core of digital art, full of fascinating challenges and possibilities. (This kind of mapping, in fact, inspired the name of this very blog.) But from my conversations with others (even other artists conversant in new media), it seems there are many assumptions regarding the mapping of images and sound that go unquestioned, though they are far from the only approaches possible. I guess this stems from our general familiarity with the two most common methods of representing sound pictorially: music notation (x equals time, y equals pitch) and waveform displays (x equals time, y equals amplitude). But there is no innate characteristic of the x axis (or the y axis, or the color depth or brightness of any pixel or any other parameter) that signifies time. Ge Fei’s suggestion that the painting is five minutes long is therefore completely arbitrary (and I’d say, having spent some time with the painting myself, perhaps a bit generous).

Experiencing this piece made me ponder that there are a lot of ways to map space to time in a real-time system, something to potentially explore in future work. It seems to me it would have been more effective if the mapping were happening continuously in real-time, so that you could experience the sound as you experience a painting: as long as you want to, making your own beginning and end as you come and go. You could even use some head-tracking routine to generate music based on the area of the canvas being examined.

Plan for adequate ventilation.
Our room was a small, custom-built hexagon inside one of the main galleries. I’m not sure if it’s due to the quality of construction materials used, or due to the lack of ventilation, but after a while the room started to stink, to the point where I saw a few people enter, take one whiff, make a face, and leave immediately. In the end the imperfect solution was to put the curtain aside to air the room out when the museum was closed.

This would have been less of an issue if the walls weren’t feebly trying to block out sound from other pieces; they might have been made from a more porous material. But if the walls must serve as soundproofing, then issues of ventilation (one of the trickiest issues in building a sound booth, as I learned when we installed one at my former office at Sierra) must also be addressed.

A more whimsical thought: while our experience brought the subject of smell to the fore, my friend Defne has also been collaborating with a perfumer to create the smell of the moon for her upcoming Futurist event. Tagging the subject for future research…

Even if you don’t need to be there, be there.
There’s really no reason I should have had to be on site for much of the set-up of our piece; there were workers there to hang cables, paint walls, etc. Most of the time I felt I could have been more productive fine-tuning my Max patch back at the hotel room than hanging around on-site amid the cacophony and astringent fumes of construction.

But not only was I able to catch some mistakes in installation (you can’t run power cables and audio cables next to each other), but when I was there, our piece’s needs simply got more attention. If something wasn’t happening, and I started doing it myself, help would suddenly materialize.

This really isn’t unique to putting on an art show; it’s general project management, just as true for a videogame. In fact, I was struck several times by the similarities between setting up for a big event like this one, and getting a videogame out the door.

And a few longstanding maxims were reinforced.
No loops!
If I have a mantra, this is it, finely honed from 12 years of audio development for videogames (i.e., real-time, digital systems). I think anyone who decides to loop a piece to make it run indefinitely in a gallery fundamentally doesn’t understand the medium of installation. I’ll expound upon this more in another post; basically a loop is the least creative answer to a very interesting question.

The refrigerator door effect
The only pieces that were really interactive at the show were Wang Bo’s and (maybe, depending on how it was supposed to be working) Yan Lei’s. Wang Bo’s piece included some of his cartoon characters rendered in life-sized plastic that cried out in pain when struck. This type of interaction, so distressingly common in digital artworks, is analogous to a refrigerator door: when you open the door, the light goes on, a simple one-to-one correspondence that, once observed, offers very little in terms of replay value. Further, behind these plastic figures, an animation of the same characters being menaced by a monstrous figure also looped, so that the piece actually broke two of my cardinal rules. And it must be said that the basic audio elements on such incessant display were poorly balanced in volume and timbre, offering no illusion that they were emanating from organic personages in a common acoustical space.

Let film be film, and let installation be installation
I was planning a big post on this topic to register my disappointment with the SH Contemporary show last fall; maybe I’ll still get around to it. What I noticed there was that almost all of the video art, except for Bill Viola and a Korean artist who’s name I’ve forgotten, was unduly beholden to the conventions of film. I don’t want to get mired down in semantics, but for me the most useful distinction is that film (including “films” shot on digital cameras) is about providing surrogate eyes, occuring in a dark room that is designed to make you forget you’re in a room at all; by contrast, video installation exists in a space, as an object.

To me, Mathieu’s piece falls squarely into the former category; I think it’s an eloquent film, and here as well as in other works of his that I’ve seen, he shows a particular knack for multiple channel narrative. But since his film so clearly presents a narrative arc, I found it frustrating to encounter his piece at the top of the stairs to the exhibitions second floor, where you’re almost guaranteed to start watching the film somewhere in the middle, then watch through to the end, then keep watching from the beginning until you get to the point where you came in, then try to piece the whole thing together into a coherent narrative in your head.

I’ve been proposing a simple solution to this problem for years: a countdown timer to the next show time! I’ve yet to see anyone try this.

I actually thought Sun Lei’s and Pei Li’s pieces both worked better as installations, even though they were also looping, since they were dramatically flat, more a series of tableaux than a story. It doesn’t really matter when you come and go.

In closing
Hope this doesn’t all come off as too grumpy; as my surliest composition professor, Richard Karpen, once said, if everyone simply applauds and says, “Great piece,” you never make any progress. In the end, despite some frustrations, it was a fun and rewarding experience, and I got a chance to work with many lovely people in the process, deepening my relationship with Hangfeng, getting to know other artists like Sun Lei and Pei Li, plus all the indefatigable folks who organized the show, Karen (particularly spry in addressing unforeseen challenges during set-up, and an unwobbling pivot throughout development) and her lovely assistant Lauren, Shen Yue and the tireless Ji Su from Modern Sky, the gregarious Liu Yitao from TAM, and so many others. Let’s do it again sometime!

Kaleidoscope Wallpaper

My collaborative installation with Chen Hangfeng, which I guess we’re calling Kaleidoscope Wallpaper, or maybe just Kaleidoscope, is up and running at the Today Art Museum. We’ve been here in Beijing setting it up since April 11th, and the show opened to the public on April 17, and after a weekend of opening activities, including a lecture by Hangfeng and I yesterday, he’s back to Shanghai, while I’m sticking around to perform another laptop set at D-22 next Thursday night. The show runs through May 3. Get a taste of what our piece sounds like here.

I wrote at length about the work as it existed when I performed it at Brainwave Communication last month. Most of what I wrote then is still true, but I thought I’d take a moment to bring you up to date with the final piece, as it is running in the museum right now, across the pedestrian walkway from where I sit typing this at Unconditional Love Coffee. Before reading the following, you might want to brush up.

When I did the piece as a concert piece at Brainwave Communication (and again last week at 2 Kolegas in Beijing), I was providing the high level brain (such as it is) of the piece, deciding when to turn things on/off, setting volumes, etc. Since I’m not on hand to perform this role as the piece runs continuously as a gallery installation, I wrote another high level “brain” to serve this purpose. At periodic intervals (between 45 seconds and 2 minutes), it essentially flips a coin to decide if each of the 3 main filter behaviors (steady chords, independent swoops, or rhythmic pulses) should be on or off. When the steady chords are selected, another choice is made to turn on one, two, or three layers of chords, which may overlap independently. If all three behaviors turn up negative, a fourth, unique behavior is triggered: the source sound is turned up to prominence, giving listeners a chance to hear what’s behind the filters more clearly and make the connection to the real-time audio feed from the mics. I also take this opportunity to pick a new scale (harmony still functioning as described in my original post) for when the filters come in again.

So the basic idea of four “scenes” is still kind of true, but they’re not completely equal. The fourth scene, which is the unmanipulated audio stream from the mics, serves as a buffer between larger spurts of filter behavior (i.e., the other three scenes), and also between different harmonic areas. This unfiltered audio signal is actually constantly present, though at a lower volume most of the time, with random functions making it louder at some times than others, independent of the other filter behaviors.

Most of my work since Brainwave Communication has been on the audio manipulation before it gets to the filters, actually, which still pretty much function as they did back then. The audio signal path is basically this:

The signal comes in from two mics (one inside, one outside the gallery).
The volumes are adjusted (i.e., cranked way up).
The two channels are mixed together by a random function; each mic gets a different, constantly changing mix.
The channels are compressed (like, severely, to try to handle anything that might be coming in).
Each channel gets two random delays, which are constantly changing, up to six seconds. When the rate of delay changes, a natural artifact is that the pitch also changes, which results in a cool, kind of scrubbing effect. The delays are intended to fracture time, analogous to how a kaleidoscope fractures space. The volume of the delayed signals also fades in and out according to a random function.
Then the signal goes to the filters, and the output of the filters plus and a bit of the unfiltered signal (volume varying, as mentioned above) is sent out to the speakers.

I actually spent almost two weeks working on two additional features that I eventually cut from the piece, although I’ll probably be able to put them to good use in the future. I was starting to fear that it would be too quiet in the gallery at times, that there wouldn’t be enough of a raw signal for the filters to work on. So I developed this idea of short term and long term memory, to supplement the present in which the piece was originally designed to operate. The short term memory would periodically record the signal from the mics into a set of buffers, triggered when the signal coming in crossed a certain threshold, so that you’d only record loud sounds, which would then be periodically played back. This memory would be erased every night when the computer is turned off, so you’d only hear sounds recorded earlier in the day. The long term memory would sense when the signal coming in had dropped beneath a certain threshold for a certain amount of time, and then supplement that signal with material recorded earlier; the plan was to record during the opening week festivities, so you could also sometimes hear back to the beginning of the installation. Kind of interesting ideas, but in practice, they only served to homogenize the output, so that the piece always sounded more or less the same, and they obscured the main idea of the piece, which is that the sound is being processed in real time, like a kaleidoscope.

There are a couple of areas I’ve tagged for future research. (For me at least, a good piece is a kind of snapshot of a way of thinking, and it ought to foment ideas for future development.) In general I want to have more coordination between the different behaviors in the piece. An early idea I never got around to implementing was that the filter swoops would sometimes move in little duets, if they happened to start moving at the same time. Another idea is to expand the rhythmic behavior, so that not all six filters are necessarily going at once, and that they’re not all necessarily going at the same beat multiple. In general I want to expand the beat multiple idea, to allow for more sophisticated, non-integer tempo relationships. And the big thing I really want to push towards is a more organic high level evolution of the piece, so that it’s not just a timer deciding when things should change, but that the behaviors somehow decide themselves when to give way to something new. I have some strategies in mind I want to try out for how to accomplish this, but probably for the current installation, a timer works best; it’s definitely safer, to guarantee the piece doesn’t get stuck doing something really boring.

So that’s basically it. I’ve got to say that it’s not as successful in the final installation as I had hoped, since the other pieces nearby really interfere with what was meant to be a subtle, slowly changing, ambient experience. I’ve never been to a show of all sound-producing works that handles this challenge well, and Music to My Eyes is no exception. But I’ll rant more about that another time. If you want to hear the piece, it’s up at the Today Art Museum through May 3, and it’s free, so swing on by. Or come hear me play D-22 next Thursday to hear the piece done as a performance!

Silence or Brainwave Communication or Sneak Preview?

Here’s a quick preview of what I’m going to be presenting at this Sunday’s “Silence or Silence or Brainwave Communication” show, which you should totally attend (details here).

I’m currently working on a collaborative project with my pal Chen Hangfeng 陈航峰, an installation for the Today Art Museum in Beijing, going up next month; he’s doing the visual part, and I’m doing the audio part. The point of departure was the notion of a kaleidoscope, which fragments and transforms the world around you into something unexpected, strange, and beautiful. To achieve the same kind of effect in sound, I’m writing a program in Max/MSP that will take a live audio signal coming from a microphone positioned around the gallery and manipulate it in funky ways. In the end it will have four different behaviors (what I’m calling “scenes”) that can be deployed independently on the two speakers in the little room we’re building. I’m planning to preview two of these at my performance this Sunday.

The basic sound production method is to use resonant filters to emphasize certain very specific frequencies present in the original signal. When the incoming signal includes one of the frequencies I’m looking for (and in the kind of noisy, ambient sound I’m pumping into the computer, this is quite likely), the filter will be excited, and you’ll hear a tone at that frequency that also retains the amplitude contour of the signal going into it. It’s not a particularly new or difficult idea—I think Jean-Claude Risset was one of the first do put this idea to musical use in the 60’s—but it’s still effective.

Setting up the filters (six of them, referencing the hexagon forms seen in kaleidoscopes) is pretty straightforward; the guts of the piece are in how and when I set those frequencies.

I’ve got an overarching harmonic plan based on just intonation that’s a bit complicated, but it basically involves picking a new scale for each “scene change.” I’ve got 5 scales to choose from. Different scales imbue the changing scenes with different moods or feelings. A fundamental pitch is selected from the chosen scale. Then each of the filters picks a multiple of that fundamental pitch (based on the scale) as its base pitch. Then it does these shorter volleys of some behavior (the specifics of which vary from scene to scene), which involve choosing another multiple (still based on the same scale) from that pitch. So you’ve got a scale degree multiplied by a scale degree multiplied by a scale degree, which is kind of analogous to the way images are reflected back and forth in the mirrors of a kaleidoscope.

I’ll be previewing two of these scene behaviors this Sunday. One is a kind of swooping, sustained thing, where each of the filters are behaving independently, coming in and out at different times, hovering around different octave offsets, very mellow and ambient. The number of swoops per volley, time of the sustain, time of the sweep, time between volleys are all controlled algorithmically, slowly changing over time. The other behavior is a more rhythmic thing, different patterns pulsing on the different filters, playing off each other, with gradually changing patterns, density, tempo multipliers, pauses also controlled algorithmically. Still mellow and ambient, but with a beat!

I’ve done a couple of pieces exploring this notion of algorithmically generated rhythmic patterns, and my first efforts were pretty unsatisfactory, notably in a piece called “Study for Eventual World Domination,” which I did at the 2Pi Festival in Hangzhou in 2006. Some of the patterns were interesting, but they kept coming out in a stream that became boring after a while, homogonous in its constant randomness, since it lacked any mid-level coherence. So I’ve come up with a system that will still generate algorithmic patterns, but store them in a list, so that they can recur and play off of other patterns, and so far this method is proving much more satisfactory. It’s actually a cross between the way I’m storing radio signals in buffers in Radiospace (randomly choosing one of the six buffers to rewrite every 20 seconds, allowing for this same kind of mid-level coherence) and how I was choosing cells to play and juxtapose in the EndWar music system.

To hear the other two scene behaviors, you’ll have to come to Beijing next month and check out the installation! The show opens April 17. I’ll post more about all the specific details later. In the meantime, see you Sunday, 8pm, Yu Yin Tang!

Turning Heads vs. Rolling Eyes

Three weekends ago, I checked out the Intrude: Art & Life 366 exhibit at the Zendai Museum in Pudong. I was always a little fuzzy about the exact parameters of this project, but it seems to have been a yearlong initiative in which different artists would do pieces to take art beyond the museum walls, and this show collects some of the highlights.

My pal Chen Hangfeng 陈航峰, with whom I’m currently collaborating on an installation for the Today Art Museum in Beijing for next April, was one of the participating artists. His piece involved chronicling the year by taking a picture of himself every day with a sign counting down the number of days remaining. Only about forty of the resultant photos were on display at the museum, though I thought there was room for a lot more, especially the one I’m in, an egregious curatorial oversight.

Most of the pieces were public performances of some kind, so they were represented in the museum by their documentary evidence, mostly videos and photographs. Lao Yang 老羊, proprietor of the Sugar Jar shop in Beijing’s 798 complex (the best place in the country to pick up experimental and underground Chinese music) had a piece on display, which involved riding around on a bike carrying one of those looping bullhorns; Lu Chen 陆晨 and Mei Er 梅二 of Shanghai punk band Top Floor Circus 顶楼的马戏团 could be seen in the background recording. Hangfeng’s friend Zeng Yu 曾郁, who we bumped into at the show, did a piece that involved walking around town wearing a blank white mask, handing out manifestos about the metaphorical masks we all wear in the public sphere. Yan Jun 颜峻 was represented by a piece that unfortunately looked suspiciously like an empty Windows XP desktop when we encountered it. One of the most entertaining pieces was by Australian Michael Yuen, who paid 40 people to follow him around People’s Square for a day without knowing why; it was fun to see how other people started to follow along and take pictures out of curiosity, goaded, I assume, by the prospect of a celebrity sighting.

Watching these videos, I couldn’t help thinking about how the act of documentation alters the performance itself. Without a documentary crew, I think some of these pieces could really shake people up and cause them to re-evaluate their surroundings, their habits, their assumptions, maybe even their safety. But when the videotape’s rolling, I expect people automatically prepare themselves for some kind of stunt or prank, if not an artwork, especially in a country where every Bi Feng Tang restaurant and intercity bus rolls those endless candid camera videos for cheap distraction. As I Twittered at the time, “A guy on a bus in a mask turns heads, but a guy on a bus in a mask being videotaped just rolls eyes.”

The only piece of these that I experienced live, other than Hangfeng’s, was a performance by German sound artist Daniel Wessolek on a rainy spring day last year up at Lu Xun park, way up in Hongkou district. He was doing a bit of circuit bending with cheap electronic toys and loudspeakers, controlled by a simple hardware sequencer he had built. Only about five people showed up for the show, but curious park-goers kept popping into our little pavilion to see what was going on. Eventually we were booted, so folks could play cards, and Daniel gave a brief encore on a boat in the lake under an umbrella. One reason I found the performance so beautiful was its ephemerality, the faint electronic sounds blending in with all the other Sunday morning noise, like drizzle on water.

But of course, if they hadn’t been videotaped, Hangfeng and I would have missed out on a fun afternoon of exploring and discussing these pieces. Documentation expands the audience for these works and gives the museum a greater roll in their promotion, analysis, and dissemination. Nonetheless, I had a strong sense that videotaping a performance does justice to neither medium. You don’t have the full sensory bandwidth, the intrusion into daily life, of a live performance, but neither, in the vast majority of cases, is the full communicative power of the video medium being exploited.

Guo Li Jun 郭立军’s “Ouch 岂不痛哉” was represented not by a video, but by an artifact. His piece involved setting up punching bags labeled “Trust me I can prove your existence 请相信我能证明你的存在” in public places, with a sign indicating that the bag may be used for hitting, kicking, hugging, kissing, or any other purpose. The same invitation held in the museum as well, so I went two rounds with one of his bags. To me it seemed the only piece in the show that even in its museum context still held the power to intrude.