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15 + 169 points

Potted Plant Distribution by zer0gee

June 21st, 2008 11:23 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Acquire a small potted plant. Leave the plant in a store, cafe, or a location of your choosing that has lack of potted plants.

So I know this task is technically in the realm of Biome, but I'm a loyal BARTPA girl at heart, so I decided to leave my plant on a Chicago Transit Authority Brown Line train. I couldn't stand leaving a poor defenseless plant sitting alone on a public train, so I created a lovely space for my plant to travel in.

Our trains have this little alcove at one end of almost every car. The way the cars are set up, each one gets a chance to be the engine car at one point or another. The alcove is opposite the driver's booth, and has a speaker system so the driver can make announcements. You may have seen Molotov pretending to use this device during our tea party on the train. I made this alcove into a little Victorian-style parlor for my English ivy (named Victoria, duh!) so she would be happy and comfortable. I decided to use the Brown Line again because of the nice views on its elevated course through the city. I also like the Brown Line because I can park my car at the terminal station, ride the whole circular route, and be right back at my car again without being asked to pay a return fare.

I put two floral mats on the seats, added a comfy dark green pillow with tatted lace, a cream linen potpourri sachet, a doily over the seat back, and a half-curtain with a fancy tassel over the main window. Victoria also got a nice burgandy scarf to wrap her container in, and I added a copy of Frances Hodgson Burnett's book "The Secret Garden", in case any visitors should lack for reading material. I attatched the curtain to the wall with double stick tape, which worked very well, and also was used to keep Victoria from falling out of the corner she rested in. I got all this done before the train left its terminal station, so I could ride the whole route and observe other passengers' reactions. All aboard!

Visitor 1 - The gray-haired businessman - he walked directly to the alcove, as experienced commuters sometimes do because it's quiet and private. Upon seeing the decorated space, he immediately turned around and found another seat on the train. Very much not amused.

Visitors 2 - Two 20-something scruffy computer programmer-type guys - they wandered nonchalantly over to the alcove and laughed loudly. The guy with the blond ponytail said, "Oh, man. It's all you, Brian." They both found other seats.

Visitor 3 - Ecclectic artist-type African guy - tall and skinny with Mardi Gras beads, a Peanuts t-shirt, and a neck tattoo - he walked with a little bop in his step, directly back to the alcove, sat down without a moment's hesitation, and rode for four stops. Yay! Victoria has a visitor!

Visitors 4 - Hispanic mother and teenage daughter - reluctant at first, and the daughter turned around to leave, but the mother called her back. They sat next to each other for five stops in Victoria's parlor. I hope they enjoyed it!

Visitor 5 - Elderly man in brown bomber jacket and military baseball hat - went in, took a brief glance, and found a different seat. Seemed confused.

Visitors 6 - A couple in their mid-20's - the male of the couple noticed the curtain hanging in the window and went back to investigate. He called his ladyfriend over and they talked about the space. The only thing I could make out from their conversation from where I was sitting was the girl saying, "It's a little surprise for someone!" They stayed standing the whole time they were on the train.

Visitor 7 - Mid-20's party girl - obviously on her way to meet her girlfriends for a big Saturday night on the town. In and out, very quickly, found a different seat. Seemed almost offended.

Visitors 8 - Two parents with two young children - the mother and son went in, came out and told the father and daughter. They went back to have a look and came out again. They sat in seats just outside the alcove, and talked very loudly and animatedly about the decorated space, which caused other passengers to get up and have a look, although nobody sat down. The mother actually mentioned "there's a plant in there."

When I got back to the terminal, I waved goodbye to Victoria as she prepared to begin another two-hour journey. I hoped she met more nice people and that some of them appreciated her company.

My thoughts on this - I really enjoyed being able to observe the people experiencing Victoria's little mobile parlor. Every time we'd pull into a station, I'd get excited all over again, and I had to keep myself from mentioning the space to other people on the train so they could go check it out. However, I am sad that most people resist having their realities pleasantly altered. I'd understand if it was a bad or scary thing, but to come upon such a lovely little space on a grungy public train would be such a delightful piece of magic for me, if it were me that it happened to. I'd really like to do this again, experiment with different train lines and different styles of decor, see how that might affect reactions.

+ larger

supplies in the trunk of my car
CTA train car
alcove with speaker
alcove undecorated
seat improvements
seat improvements
Victoria moves in
window treatment
finished parlor
All done and almost ready to leave the station
Victoria in her parlor
mid-20's couple

34 vote(s)

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9 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by susy derkins on June 22nd, 2008 12:32 AM

Guerrilla interior decoration! On moving public spaces! (Obvious wow!)
And I completely love the way you´re consistently Victorian and proper.

What susy said
posted by Spidere on June 22nd, 2008 1:27 AM

:) Nice work making reality more surreal in a wonderful way.

(no subject)
posted by Sparrows Fall on June 22nd, 2008 11:20 AM

This is fantastic! Aw, this would totally make my day if I stumbled upon it.

Best line: The way the cars are set up, each one gets a chance to be the engine car at one point or another.

(no subject)
posted by meredithian on June 22nd, 2008 3:49 PM

this was a great idea!

(no subject)
posted by Gremlin on June 22nd, 2008 11:30 PM

Choosing "THE SECRET GARDEN" as reading material in your little reconstructed CTA lounge was brilliant! The whole thing was such a great idea :)

(no subject)
posted by Dela Dejavoo on June 25th, 2008 12:51 PM

So good.

Interactive installations are neat!
posted by lefthandedsnail on July 6th, 2008 4:40 PM

This has to be at least 20 kinds of amazing!

(no subject)
posted by zer0gee on July 6th, 2008 10:45 PM

Thanks - glad you liked it, and welcome to the game!

It's funny for me to think of it as an "installation". I was just thinking I made a nice room for my plant to ride in, really.

(no subject)
posted by zer0gee on July 6th, 2008 10:58 PM

Aw, thanks! It was REALLY fun to do. (It occurs to me that I say that about almost every task I complete, don't I? Hmmm...)