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Slo-Mo Home Depot
August 24, 2006 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Slo-Mo Home Depot. Improv Everywhere got 250 people to wander around a Home Depot in slow motion. [via]
posted by chunking express (77 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's the most majestic-looking Home Depot I have ever seen. All the ones out here are just big boxes.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:48 AM on August 24, 2006


...and that's different from a normal Home Depot how?
posted by lordrunningclam at 8:56 AM on August 24, 2006


Had not heard of these cats. Bring them to Blighty, dammit. Like what they did in Best Buy as well. That is surrealism in action....!
posted by The Salaryman at 8:59 AM on August 24, 2006


That's the HD in upper Manhattan, ya? I was struck by that the last time I was in New York that all these box and mortars have to inhabit these old exquisite building fronts for real estate. There's a Best Buy in mid town that is just so not Best Buy looking on the outside.
posted by cavalier at 9:12 AM on August 24, 2006


Had not heard of these cats.

Welcome to the Internet. Hope you enjoy your stay.
posted by Plutor at 9:15 AM on August 24, 2006


I love it. L-O-V-E, love it. Humanity at its best.
posted by squirrel at 9:19 AM on August 24, 2006


Now that's art.
posted by Foosnark at 9:19 AM on August 24, 2006


If one of those douchebags got in my way, I would mow them down with nary a flinch. My life is too goddamn short as it is have it wasted by some psuedo-arty douchebag.

To paraphrase Henry Rollins, if you are wasting my time, you are murdering me by tiny increments and I take you out.
posted by keswick at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, keswick, you're such an iconoclast.
posted by dersins at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


1. One who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions.
2. One who destroys sacred religious images.


How so?
posted by keswick at 9:46 AM on August 24, 2006


See also Whirl-Mart.
posted by lalochezia at 9:48 AM on August 24, 2006


Improv Everywhere is a popular institution. You attack it. I thought it was a pretty clear use of the noun.
posted by Plutor at 9:48 AM on August 24, 2006


If one of those douchebags got in my way, I would mow them down with nary a flinch.

Uh huh. On the internet, everyone is a badass.
posted by Skot at 9:50 AM on August 24, 2006


"Repent, Harlequin!" Said The Tick-Tock Man keswick.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:52 AM on August 24, 2006


Uh huh. On the internet, everyone is a badass.

What? Don't you believe this hard-boiled internet web-log commentator would not hesitate to kill a man for moving a little too slowly for his liking?

Your cynicism cheapens our debate and makes this a worse place for us all. Shine on, dear Keswick. Show us how it is done.
posted by Evstar at 9:57 AM on August 24, 2006


I read an interview with Matt Groening once, where he said that, in his senior year at Evergreen, one of his professors said to him, "It's clear to me that you're reasonably good at what you do. Now, you need to ask yourself if it's worth doing."

I got that same feeling when I read the description of the Home Depot improv action - sure, it's mildly interesting, but....meh. Is there a broader point? Are they mocking consumerism? Is a statement being made? Or is it just performance art for performance art's sake?
posted by pdb at 10:00 AM on August 24, 2006


The best thing about this is how all the regular shoppers seem to be ignoring them, walking past with hardly a glance on their way to find tub fixtures and pot lights. The same way people do when some guy is shouting obscenities on the street corner. All that planning and organization and happy anticipation thinking they'll be saying something sublime about consumer culture, when to me it only gives evidence that there are far too many graduates of Theatre Studies programs. On the other hand, it looks like a nice day and everyone was having fun, and I'm sure they all go out together for drinks afterwards, and a couple of them will hook up so someone gets lucky, and it broke the boredom for the employees, so no harm done.
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:03 AM on August 24, 2006


I like the fact that it doesn't necessarily have a point.
posted by goethean at 10:04 AM on August 24, 2006


I like the fact that it doesn't necessarily have a point.

Exactly. It's cool to watch. Why does everything need to have a broader purpose?
posted by chunking express at 10:10 AM on August 24, 2006


The best thing about this is how all the regular shoppers seem to be ignoring them, walking past with hardly a glance on their way to find tub fixtures and pot lights....All that planning and organization and happy anticipation thinking they'll be saying something sublime about consumer culture...

Seems like you just proved they DID say something sublime about consumer culture and its singleminded fixation on, you know, comsuming.
posted by dersins at 10:16 AM on August 24, 2006


Or even consuming.
posted by dersins at 10:17 AM on August 24, 2006


"Improv Everywhere is a popular institution."

Man, your view is myopic isn't it? Popular within a subset of smug urban hipsters is more like it. Mock me all you want, but I do not suffer having my time wasted by fools.
posted by keswick at 10:17 AM on August 24, 2006


It's pretty cool when you watch it online, but I don't think I would find it as amusing if I was in the middle of some art performance. Also, related: the slowest man on earth.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:17 AM on August 24, 2006


This conversation seems to pop up anywhere I hear one of their things mentioned....they don't really HAVE a broader point, they aren't political activists, it isn't symbolic, it's just fun. It's about people's reactions and the sheer absurdity of the situation.

A lot of people find it hilarious. A lot of people don't. That's just how life works.
posted by Stunt at 10:18 AM on August 24, 2006


I do not suffer having my time wasted by fools.

Then you are very much in the wrong place.
posted by dersins at 10:18 AM on August 24, 2006 [3 favorites]


"I'm not sure if it was due to our brevity (we were in and out in a mere fifteen minutes) or if the Home Depot management is more laid-back than other stores, but no action was taken towards us at all."

It's not surprising: the management at Home Depot generally takes no notice of the customers at all.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:20 AM on August 24, 2006


Why does everything need to have a broader purpose?

'Cause otherwise Keswick's time is being wasted and he might kill somebody?
posted by pax digita at 10:20 AM on August 24, 2006


Man, your view is myopic isn't it? Popular within a subset of smug urban hipsters is more like it. Mock me all you want, but I do not suffer having my time wasted by fools.

Keswick, welcome to Metafilter! Hope you survive the experience!
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:20 AM on August 24, 2006


When I said mow down, I did not mean "gun down" or "run over in an automobile." I meant "bodycheck your skinny arty ass into the latex paint." HTH.

Also, I'm not wasting MY time at MeFi; I'm wasting my employer's. Shh!
posted by keswick at 10:23 AM on August 24, 2006


Why does everything need to have a broader purpose?

It doesn't, necessarily, I just didn't know whether it was supposed to or not.
posted by pdb at 10:25 AM on August 24, 2006


Man, keswick, people must smell sulfur when your fearsome ass walks down the street. I mean, I'm getting little goosebumps thinking how fully your real-life self must correspond to the GIANT WEDGE OF TITANIUM that is keswick the careful typist.
posted by argybarg at 10:25 AM on August 24, 2006


If they are smelling sulfur, it's because I have gas.
posted by keswick at 10:28 AM on August 24, 2006


"Dude, you totally missed it. We just got, like, a hundred people and we went to Home Depot and we all walked around really slow for like 15 minutes. It was so awesome."

"What happened?"

"Nothing, then we left."
posted by jefbla at 10:29 AM on August 24, 2006


It's about people's reactions and the sheer absurdity of the situation.

Oh, I get it now. They're TROLLS.
posted by localroger at 10:34 AM on August 24, 2006


Seems like you just proved they DID say something sublime about consumer culture and its singleminded fixation on, you know, consuming.

Not really. The same people probably would have ignored them whatever they, the passing audience, happened to be engaged at, simply because a group of people walking around in slow motion or standing still isn't that interesting to anyone besides the group of people walking around in slow motion. And, like others said, this works best when we believe that there's really no point to it, although it's hard to believe all these people grouped together in pursuit of no point whatsoever. To have fun, sure, but then they could do it in a park and leave our soul-sucking big box stores alone.
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:38 AM on August 24, 2006


Localroger: Hah. Well, if they were doing it to piss people off, then I suppose it would be similar. Mostly they seem to be trying to make people laugh though, so it's not really all that fair of a comparision.
posted by Stunt at 10:38 AM on August 24, 2006


Awesome.

I highly encourage this kind of shit 24/7. My wife and I have little practical joke projects we do spontaneously. Like go out and speak gibberish to eachother.... while one acts as a straight faced interpreter to other people.

Occasionally in the produce center of a grocery store - when they turn on the mist sprayers over the veggies - my wife will scream "They are filling the store with poison gas! Run for your life!" And she will run out of the store and wait in the car leaving me with the cart and an embarrassed look on my face, explaining "She kids. She kids."

Now, why can't we organize 250,000 people to do that slo mothion thing in the Mall in DC for a week? Freak Bush OUT!
posted by tkchrist at 10:39 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


I heard keswick rates everything on a scale from 1 to sucks.
posted by chunking express at 10:54 AM on August 24, 2006


I've been following Improv Everywhere for a few years now, and I love their little bits. Their antics make the world a slightly funnier and better place.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 10:57 AM on August 24, 2006


This conversation seems to pop up anywhere I hear one of their things mentioned....they don't really HAVE a broader point, they aren't political activists, it isn't symbolic, it's just fun. It's about people's reactions and the sheer absurdity of the situation.

The more stunts like this I hear about them pulling, the more I think their whole point is something along the lines of "No matter how weird/boring/arty/what-have-you the idea, we can convince a couple hundred people to do it at the same time."
posted by 23skidoo at 11:02 AM on August 24, 2006


I'll wager an interpretation: If you were to take this event as performance art, the point of the piece might be to shed light on what leeway groups of people have in a privately owned semi-public commercial space, which can be taken as a point on power relations. Furthermore, it explores the viewer's expectations on what kind of bahaviour is normal in a consumption environment.

Also, the video made me giggle very much.
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 11:06 AM on August 24, 2006


Man, your view is myopic isn't it? Popular within a subset of smug urban hipsters is more like it.

Does it make you not an iconoclast because you're able to put a label on the group that's the audience? Aren't you performing said attack and/or overthrow-seekage within earshot of those same smug urban hipsters? Is there anything that's universally popular? I'd argue not, and thus, by your logic, does that make iconoclast-ness simply an unachievable ideal?
posted by Plutor at 11:28 AM on August 24, 2006


I don't know, I'm a little embarrassed for the herd-mentality goofballs who got involved in this "art" project. It's not that they're doing anything wrong, but it's just dumb.

You can come up with an infinite number of so-called "crazy" things to do ("let's unleash a crowd of stuffed-animal carrying adults in a department store to demonstrate how infantile most shoppers are") but in doing so, you've done nothing more than pull off a sophomoric stunt and demonstrated that you're a pompous asshole. Or maybe I could go do a headstand in the middle of a shopping mall for an hour, and call it a mockery of everyone else's conformism, but really I'm just showing that I'm attention-starved and have way too much time on my hands.

I guess my point is, are these actions really so great just because they're zany?
posted by jayder at 11:37 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Is there anything that's universally popular?

Misinterpreting actual definitions of words so that they mean what you want them to mean comes pretty darn close.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:40 AM on August 24, 2006


Dada is for Dodos, MIRITE?!
posted by tittergrrl at 11:44 AM on August 24, 2006


Metafilter: you are murdering me by tiny increments and I take you out.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2006


1) Not as funny as the best buy one.
They should have sent in a bunch of people in Lowes aprons or something.

2) Why is there such an abundance of hot people in NYC?
Not only the performers, but some of the customers.
I mean, a trip to my local Home Depot is like a trip to the "ugliest baby at a tractor pull" competition...

3) The girl(guy) who froze with his/her head in the oven is very dedicated. I don't think I could stand like that for 5 minutes.
posted by madajb at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2006


Where did anyone get the idea that this is meant to be art or some commentary on... anything?

Methinks they were trying to have fun, do something different than their usual lives. Just see what happens. Like sometimes I talk to strangers I meet waiting in line or whatever. Sometimes interesting things come out of it. Sometimes not. If you don't find it fun, don't participate.
posted by raedyn at 12:21 PM on August 24, 2006


tkchrist, that's awesome. I hope I end up like that when I'm married.
posted by danb at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2006


I preferred their starbucks time loop one. but this one's not too bad.
posted by knapah at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2006


I liked how the participants looked mostly normal in the speeded-up version of the video, while everyone else was whizzing by. Looked surreal.
posted by growli at 2:07 PM on August 24, 2006


Occasionally in the produce center of a grocery store - when they turn on the mist sprayers over the veggies - my wife will scream "They are filling the store with poison gas! Run for your life!" And she will run out of the store and wait in the car leaving me with the cart and an embarrassed look on my face, explaining "She kids. She kids."

Sometimes, when I'm feeling saucy, I step into a crowded theater and scream "FIRE! FIRE!!!" Never fails to get a raise out of them and management always thinks it's funny.
posted by LordSludge at 2:11 PM on August 24, 2006


Yes, LordSludge, that's exactly the same thing.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:29 PM on August 24, 2006


It is exactly the same thing. These people are indeed smug urban hipster idiots with way too much time on their hands. I would happily run them down with my shopping cart should they ever infest a store I'm shopping in.
posted by nlindstrom at 3:16 PM on August 24, 2006


I would happily run them down with my shopping cart should they ever infest a store I'm shopping in.. These people are indeed smug urban hipster idiots with way too much time on their hands. I would happily run them down with my shopping cart should they ever infest a store I'm shopping in.

LOL. Tough talk nlindstrom.

I shop at the Broadway QFC in Seattle. Usually on Sundays and Wednesdays in early evening. I await you and your cart anytime.
posted by tkchrist at 3:34 PM on August 24, 2006



Sometimes, when I'm feeling saucy, I step into a crowded theater and scream "FIRE! FIRE!!!" Never fails to get a raise out of them and management always thinks it's funny.


There was the time a holocaust survivor was there... funny? Not so much.

Over all a laugh olympics, though. Minus the .001% chance you run into a Dachau survivor.

That reminds me, Sludge. Tell me. Does it hurt you much?

What? You know. The stick.

Don't ask me "what stick?" You know. The one you have jammed up your amazingly tight ass. I can see the pain must interfere with your humor sensor.
posted by tkchrist at 3:41 PM on August 24, 2006


I finally got home, where I can watch the videos. I take away from this that most of the employees got a kick out of it. That seems worth the effort.
posted by mmahaffie at 4:09 PM on August 24, 2006


That's the HD in upper Manhattan, ya?
Sorry, cavalier, it's the HD in lower-middle Manhatty, on 23rd between 6th and 7th Ave. The only other HD is on 59th and 3rd, in the Bloomsburg Bldg's Basement, near Bloomingdale's.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:22 PM on August 24, 2006


the haters in this post probably don't dance at weddings, either. it's something to do that's fun and has no point. people do it in groups because it's more fun that way and as individuals each person feels less embarrased. i should dance more at weddings.
posted by snofoam at 5:53 PM on August 24, 2006


The difference is, dancing at a wedding is an acceptable social norm, where as standing stockstill in the middle of an aisle is fucking rude, self-centering, and annoying.
posted by keswick at 6:35 PM on August 24, 2006


The difference is, dancing at a wedding is an acceptable social norm, where as standing stockstill in the middle of an aisle is fucking rude, self-centering, and annoying.

keswick, your entire Metafilter persona is based on standing stockstill in the middle of the aisle. Sure, you're standing there shouting about how much everything sucks, and how much you don't care about it, but you're still standing there in the middle of the aisle.
posted by dersins at 6:43 PM on August 24, 2006


So in order for anything to be worth doing it must be perfectly normal?

How terribly dull.
posted by lekvar at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2006


Too cool for school.
posted by smackfu at 7:40 PM on August 24, 2006


smug urban hipster

Smupsters. It's fun to say Smupsters! But it's impossible to type the word "smupsters" when one has a stick up one's ass.
posted by swell at 7:57 PM on August 24, 2006


Say what you will about these folks, the Moebius Strip is fucking genius.
posted by bigbigdog at 8:12 PM on August 24, 2006


I was one of the slo-mo people, and I can tell you, it was a blast.

Also, there was absolutely no discussion of a "message," or anything of the sort. We gathered in the park, the head guy said 'thank you all for coming... we're going to go to the home depot and shop in slow motion.' Everything thought it was a cool idea. At no point did anyone stand up and say "THIS will show those consumer jerks!"

An analogy: At my friends' last birthday party, I brought a bunch of styrofoam swords, and we had a blast whacking each other with them. It wasn't a "ritual rebirth" or "trial to prove your age" or any nonsense like that. Whacking each other with styrofoam swords is fun. Doing random things, like shopping in store in slow motion for five minutes, is fun. For anyone who thinks Improv Anywhere is soley about getting a reaction, read about the MP3 Experiment 3. Sure, some people saw us, but it was basically just for the group.
posted by ®@ at 10:08 PM on August 24, 2006


Uh huh. On the internet, everyone is a badass.

Not me. On the internet, I'm a big chocolatey butterfly huggybear (not furry). In real life, though, I'll gnaw through your belly button and scream 'no pasaran!' into your hot guts if you even look at me funny.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:07 PM on August 24, 2006



I guess my point is, are these actions really so great just because they're zany?

Yes.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:29 PM on August 24, 2006


Okay, tkchrist, you're on! I'll start by running you over with either an A/1 or B/8 cart, and the resulting collision will undoubtedly produce a B/2 cart and possibly a few B/3 fragments. It'll be a riot!
posted by nlindstrom at 12:40 AM on August 25, 2006


...standing stockstill in the middle of an aisle is ... self-centering ...

How true. I was not aware you were into yoga.
posted by mmahaffie at 6:09 AM on August 25, 2006


Sorry, cavalier, it's the HD in lower-middle Manhatty, on 23rd between 6th and 7th Ave

Ah, good to know my memory is still worth about as much as a 99 cent happy meal. Good thing I don't live there, I'd get lost alot!

tkchrist made me lol.
posted by cavalier at 6:25 AM on August 25, 2006


sheer genius.
and by genius I mean jolly-good-fun. it does seem that some people are missing the point--that there is no point. it's not FOR other people. I think, first and foremost, it's for the participants. it's fun. doesn't part of you wish you could break out and do something like this every once in a while?

oh and tkchrist: that's f'ing awesome. in my last (and first) relationship, the woman was waaaaaaaaaay more [...uhmmm, how about..] "not-comfortable" in crowds, so while I tried some fun things, they never really worked out. can't wait for the future. thanks for the ideas. :)
posted by ryran at 6:39 AM on August 25, 2006


I dream of a day where everything I post is hated by keswick.
posted by chunking express at 9:35 AM on August 25, 2006


I vote for great.
posted by Bageena at 2:56 PM on August 25, 2006


"not-comfortable" in crowds, so while I tried some fun things, they never really worked out. can't wait for the future. thanks for the ideas.

I recommend that everybody marry a weirdo. It will make life much more fun.

There is a fine line. Like Tom Green type humor in public would likely make me want to punch him. Don't fuck with people in a mean way.

But being silly? Like the Slo Mo thing? It's AWESOME.

I was at a Mall in Vancouver once when the place was descended on by people in big animal Mascot outfits. And they just shopped normally. Until some funky carnival music went over the PA and all of them started doing this little dance all at once.

Best acid flash-back EVER!

C'mon. You haters are such buzz killers. All the people at the Home Depot will have a story to tell for the rest of their lives.

Otherwise. What? In twenty years you'd remember: "Uh. There was this time I went to Home Depot and bought duct tape. And. Nothing happened." Is THIS how you want to live?
posted by tkchrist at 4:05 PM on August 25, 2006


Yes, because having attention-whore free shopping means that the rest of your life will be utterly boring. and devoid of meaningful experiences. Personally, when I go shop at big box stores, I want to get in and get out ASAP so I can spending my time doing more worthwhile things. Like trolling MeFi. (Just kidding.)
posted by keswick at 4:22 PM on August 25, 2006


keswick, you ARE an attention whore.

"Look at me everybody I hate things! Let me tell you about what I hate... Look! See me hate it when other people have fun."

I want to get in and get out ASAP so I can spending my time doing more worthwhile things.

Like yelling:

"Get outta my yard you Mimes! I see you over there you performance artists... take off those turtle necks!! Quit picking my apples in slow motion you darn Bhutto Street Theatre Dancers!"

Jesus. Seriously. You are in need of a humor enema.
posted by tkchrist at 6:08 PM on August 25, 2006


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