“Is this Ghostbusters?” one little girl shrieks as an almost hazmat-clad figure pushes a strange mechanical contraption along the sidewalk facing the White House. Her mother quiets her, then asks, “Why he got a mask on, pushing that machine?”
Why indeed — but a quick conversation with any member of Greg James’s highly personable team will give the scoop. The Mobile Personal Series is one of Fringe’s inaugural site specific programs, specifically the product of the fictional Satisfixation Inc., a vehicle for James’s subtle protest of the current views on technology. It’s performance art and moveable art, at once practical sculpture and political statement.
The M.P.C.U., or Mobile Personal Climatification Unit, does in fact look like something out of a science fiction film, which fits with the fake company’s motto: “Solving tomorrow’s problems today.” Perched atop a red flyer wagon, an assembly of air conditioning parts pump cold air through a long metal tube that feeds into the suit of the man pushing the wagon.
That’s right — it’s a portable air conditioner.
The metaphor isn’t subtle, once you realize the machine actually works, and with the hot, dry day I followed James’s team on, I actually caught myself thinking, “Well, it kind of makes sense.”
I was then horrified, watching Mark McCloughan push the 300 pound amalgamation of metal casing and gasoline powered generator around the streets of D.C. It’s extremely impractical, but it provides the kind of comfort in the outdoors that humans seem to feel entitled to.
Mobile Personal Service
Conceived by Gregory James
on the streets of DC
Details and tickets
Keep your eyes peeled in the tourist populated corners of downtown D.C. (for locations, check @twitter.com/satisfixation, and when you see some someone pushing an almost impossible inventions, don’t hesitate to go talk with him.