My current idea is to respond to the ideas of relational aesthetics by re-creating The Asch Experiment, which was a study in Psychology which tested conformity by having unsolicited participants happen upon an elevator full of people facing an untraditional direction (backwards, sideways, etc.), during which most people conformed to the odd behavior without knowing why. I would like to tweak this experiment in order to focus its attention to the human interactions taking place.
Some ideas about how to tweak it:
- Set up the elevator to be a more social environment from another context (e.g., "coffee shop" - a couple small chairs facing each other, maybe even an end table with a plant, etc.)
- "Social circle" - in which the people in the elevator stand in an inward-facing circle for the ride, rather than all facing a single direction. (In this situation, without the furniture to suggest the intended arrangement, most of the people in any one elevator would have to be plants to set the new norm, meaning that only the few, uninformed participants would be receiving the full, transformed experience.
In either case, The Asch Experiment shows that people will take part in the abnormal behavior without formal instruction. I am interested in what the experience of an elevator ride is like when it becomes a social experience rather than traditionally-imposed solitude.