Assisted Street Crossing
River to Creek: A Roving Natural History of North Brooklyn
Sign Language

TRYST was formed in 2003 by Paul Benney, Clarinda Mac Low and Alejandra Martorell. Using subtle alterations of everyday street life, we question our surroundings, and the definitions of “freedom” that we’re given by government and society. TRYST uses a combination of on-the-spot improvisation, careful design and interactive social experiments. In theory and practice, TRYST is loosely inspired by the “Situationists International,” and their desire to activate “each individual’s everyday rediscovery of his or her own life in play (what do I want to do today?)” in an effort to counter the constant commercialization of everyday life and break down the false walls between work, faith, family, and play. We are particularly interested in their invention of “psychogeography,” a geography not of place and space but of emotion and perception, and their concept of the “detournment,” where an artwork or an everyday action is altered to bring about a heightened awareness.

“Our project is nothing more than a seductive, subversive re-statement of the obvious.” *
“The city no longer experienced as a scrim of commodities and power, but felt as a field of psychogeography.” (Guy Debord)

TRYST is particularly interested in how people live physically day-to-day, and what is considered “acceptable” physical behavior. We want our work to be physically and financially accessible to a wide audience, and we aim to make situations where the real experience is left up to the individual audience member’s choice and whim. By engaging these decision-making organs, and creating something out of the ordinary in the public realm, we hope to wake up the people who encounter us by chance or by choice.

*(Greil Marcus Lipstick Traces)

“Daydreaming subverts the world” (Raoul Vaneigem)

“Situations = moments of life concretely, freely and deliberately 
created…each situation…an ambient milieu for a game of events.”
(Guy Debord)
Tryst is an unexpected power outage, or running out of gas on a deserted stretch of highway. Tryst is a conversation with a group of strangers in a stalled elevator, fixing your own toaster, forgetting your cell phone, losing your keys. Tryst is an anonymous note. Tryst is finding the benign in a world of threats. Tryst is the game you play with traffic lights as you ride your bike across a city. Tryst is no umbrella in a rainstorm, an appointment with nobody, a long walk for no reason. Tryst is quitting your job. Tryst is flirting. Tryst is the baby you make faces at across the aisle of a crowded bus. Tryst is the fluid experience that surrounds the things you can describe. Tryst can’t be bought. Tryst is a delicious joke. Tryst is three-dimensional. Tryst is making your own fun and your own dinner. Tryst is trust with a sidelong glance and a rear-view mirror. Tryst is reconfiguring architecture. Tryst is taking care and letting go at the same time. Tryst is a secret kiss. Tryst is spacing out. Tryst is listening to a tall tale with an open mind. Tryst is participating.

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