The Pickup Series (2013 - 2014)
The Pickup Series comprised of several projects, made in collaboration with Reija Merilainen, examining the social algorithms present in pickup art strategies and their respective paradigms.
In The Pickup Series, Merilainen and I decided to examine the grey areas amongst the appalling, violent, entitled and demeaning hetero-normative assumptions that are at the root of pickup. We immersed ourselves into the community in order to understand 1. how can one strategize social interaction? 2. what can we gain by acquiring the “skills” that are purported to be necessary to succeed socially? 3. what can we learn about social interaction, gender roles, attraction, success, self-improvement, strategy, thoroughly embodied philosophy and self programming from a philosophy that calls women “targets”?
Elements of the series were presented at MIT (Cambridge, MA), Titanik Galleria (Turku, Helsinki), Kuva/Tila (Helsinki) (now Exhibition Laboratory), and Club Kaiku nightclub (Helsinki).
Annihilation, The Method (2013)
Exhibited as part of the work The Pickup Center, presented in Kuva/Tila's (Helsinki) (now Exhibition Laboratory) inaugural exhibition Kesken Keiken, as part of Antagon Biennial at Titanik Galleria (Turku, Finland), and Kingsize group exhibition at Vapaan Taiteen Tila (Helsinki).
Script adapted, inserting gender neutralized pronouns, from Neil Strauss' seminar The Annihilation Method.
Megan Snowe & Reija Merilainen took on the month-long performative task of Neil Strauss’ 30 Day Challenge where the two did daily tasks that were designed to help them build pickup art skills.
The 30 Day Challenge was documented in the blog 30daysofpickupart.tumblr.com and culminated in #THEPICKUPCENTER (see below).
videos, digital prints, sound, disco ball, led sign, performance
The culmination of 30 Day Challenge (see above), this multimedia installation was a collection of material from a month of learning pickup art strategies and the seduction arts.
The opening of the group exhibition coincided with the last challenge of the 30 Day Challenge, to host a party and invite people you met throughout the challenge. We billed the opening of the exhibition, which was the inaugural exhibition for the new exhibition space, as a grand opening for a new venue - positing it as a party and social event. We provided a matching card game to the first 20 people to arrive. The game was an ice breaker to encourage people to socialize with strangers (something rarely done at art openings). Once a matching card set was found the pair received a free drink out of a speak-easy-style corner of the installation.
The installation combined aesthetic formats of an anthropological display and a night club.
The project garnered press from Helsinki Sanomat (Nyt-liite) and Anna Magazine.
THE PICKUP CENTER - IN THE FIELD (2014)
video, interactive flirtation game, audio, performance
The final installment of The Pickup Series, THE PICKUP CENTER - IN THE FIELD was a one-night multimedia installation in Club Kaiku nightclub, Helsinki.
The Field is any public gathering or any place you may interact with people you don’t know. The club space is a classic example. It is a stimulation zone - people are turned on by the music, lights, drink, strangers, friends, hype, etc. Many times it is a big strut fest. Exhibiting our works in such an environment was a perfect opportunity to cause mild confusion by drawing attention to how we act in such a space. The goal of this installation was to immerse them into the material at the site where it is most commonly practiced and thus create hyper self-awareness in a sexually charged zone.
The installation took over the main club space in Club Kaiku and snippets from the audiobook recording of “The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed” were gender neutralized and installed in the bathrooms. The card matching game was used again, each card having a pickup art term printed on one side and the definition on the other to encourage seduction skill development.
This part of The Pickup Series was included as part of my MFA thesis.