I’ve never been caught leaving my public art around. Until today. It happened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
The past couple days I’ve been thinking about what artwork I can leave in public elevators. This morning I thought of putting a sticky note by the ground floor button that says, “What will you discover outside?” And the sticky note will have a hole cut out, so I can put the sticky note over the ground floor button (without covering up any of the numbers).
It’s a nice notion. You are hitting the first floor, so I’m assuming you are going outside, so it’s a nice thought for someone to have while going outside. “What will I discover outside?” Completely innocent and nice.
The first elevator ride
I go to the MCA for lunch thinking that will be a fun place to leave the first sticky note in this series.
Before I place the sticky note, first I have to ride the elevator and rub the note over the button, so i get an indentation of where to cut the circle. I got on the elevator at floor 2 and pressed “4.” I got out my sticky note pad, put it over the floor 1 button and just as I got a successful rub, a cute MCA worker gets on at the basement. It’s perplexing that a visitor would be on the elevator at the basement because those are only offices. I guess I was so busy rubbing the sticky note that I didn’t bother actually pressing the 4 button all the way.
She asks, “Whoa. What are you doing here? Exploring?” She wasn’t mean at all, in fact, she was really nice. I’m like, “Uh, i dunno. I guess the button didn’t get pushed all the way.” She asked me where I’d like go to and I told her floor one. So she pushes the 1 button on her side.
When we arrive to the first floor, it’s weird, because the elevator doesn’t open to the gift shop, it opens to some weird hallway, and I walk out confused and she says the gift shop is through the door.
Ok, that was a bit awkward, but I’m still gonna make the sticky note! The gift shop on one doesn’t have any place to sit, so I walk up the stairs to the second floor where I can sit down and cut out the circle and write the text.
The second elevator ride
I go back to the same elevator, I press up. It arrives. Nobody is inside. I walk inside and press floor 4, and I place the sticky note over floor 1, and take a photo. DONE!
But then the elevator all of the sudden opens on floor 5‚ The offices, and you know who gets on? THE SAME EMPLOYEE!!!! AND she’s still very friendly and says, “are you still exploring the building?”
And I’m just all flustered at this point thinking she’s surely gonna see what I just did, but she’s talking with me and I’m just like “uh duh uh duh uh duh.” I go to hit floor one, but I can’t see if the button gets light up because i have a sticky note over it!
I hit “1” on the other set of buttons and that lights up. She helpfully suggestions that I get off at floor 2, because it’s easier to find the gift shop from there. She probably thought I got lost at floor one, and got back on the elevator.
I got off at floor two all dazed. She never saw the sticky note when I talked to her, because she was talking with me the whole time.