Sound Design: Agent Walker
Characters: Agents Ace$Thugg, Becket, Dippold, Kula, Walker
Producers: Agents Arnheiter, Cavin, Fountain, Kinney, Shelktone
DV Cams: Agents EMartin, Reeves, Adams, Lanoie, Gross
Digital Photography: Agents Nicholson, Rainswept, Pallas, Mirka, Moore, Schneekloth
Utility Agents: Agents Tuculescu, Kendall, Vonk, Chadwick, MacNeil
Costumes: Agent Zeigler
Graphic Design: Agent Howell
Edited by: Matt Adams
For Mp3 III, Agent Walker and I wanted to push the experiment in a new direction. We thought it would be fun to have folks start at four distinct locations in the park and not have the entire group come together until midway through the adventure. We created four unique Mp3 tracks, each 32-minutes in length. Participants downloaded tracks based on the season of their birth and then followed the maps we posted on our site to find their meet up point. These starting points were spread out so far from each other that they spanned three subway stops. We liked the idea that you might have to tell your friend with an autumn birthday goodbye on the subway as you got off two stops before her to find the summer meet up point, trusting that you’d meet up again mid-Mp3.
The summer group met on a rocky hill near 97th Street. The autumn and winter groups met on opposite sides of the Great Hill, an elevated area around 107th Street. The spring group had perhaps the coolest meeting place, a tunnel a short walk from the 103rd Street entrance.
Spring meeting point
Agents Rose, Keech, and Kaz
Agent Kinney, producer of the summer group
Agent Shelktone starts the countdown at the spring group
A man praises Steve above
The winter group was greeted by Snowflake
The summer group meets the Sun
Raindrop remains hidden from the spring group as they press play
Raindrop makes her entrance
Cloud appears from around the corner
Cloud greets the autumn birthdays
Raindrop Says, “Touch your nose.”
Cloud Says, “Pat your head and rub your tummy.”
Snowflake teaches his dance
The Cloud dance
The winter group runs around
Raindrop teaches her dance…
…and then dances with her group
Snowflake’s group lines up behind him
Snowflake’s group travels through the woods
The Sun group winds over the hills
Sun takes his group through two sunbathers
Raindrop leads her line
The Rain group crosses a creek
Rain group crosses under Central Park’s tallest arch
The Cloud group went deep into the woods
The groups converge upon The Pool
A biker watches as line of headphone wearing folks parade by
Steve appears by the banks of The Pool
A child watches as smoke blows out of Steve’s robe
The crowd looks on
Some participants were eager to worship Steve upon first sight
A boy watches Steve
Two girls smile in the middle of the arena
A birthday party continues while 600 silent headphoned people surround it
Cloud fell first
The crowd cheers
The six people in the front here aren’t wearing headphones, simply watching
Sun knocks out Raindrop!
The Sun leads the conga line
The line eventually stretched around the entire Pool as the Sun began to lap folks 600-deep into the line
Per usual Agent Walker did all of the audio engineering and editing for the Mp3’s. He also created tons of original music for the tracks. Here are some Mp3 samples.
Steve (Voiced by Agent Todd)
Snowflake (Voiced by Agent Kula)
Snow Song Walking Medley
Raindrop (Voiced by Agent Spencer)
Rain Song Walking Medley
Cloud (Voiced by Agent Becket)
Cloud Song Walking Medley
Sun (Voiced by Agent Ace$Thugg)
Sun Song Walking Medley
Element Of The Year Song
Agent Ace$Thugg (The Sun)
I was instantly surprised by the turnout in the summer group. I could tell all the people were completely jazzed about the event, which made my role as group leader that much more fun. My group sailed through “Sunny says” with no problem. However, playing “Solar Eclipse” after designating one person moon and one person sun returned some confused faces, but the majority caught on, or at least ran in circles with the rest of the group and feigned comprehension. Teaching the dance was difficult, as the only dance move I could do was palm my face and turn in circles. So that became the “Sun Dance.” As I tired, I threw in some hula dancing during the song’s refrain in order to catch my breath (and wipe the gallons of sweat off my brow.)
Finally, I lead the group in single file line (a sunbeam) from shortest to tallest; it took much longer that I anticipated, just because of the sheer number of people. It took a full song for the lineup to be complete. I lead the sunbeam with a zigzag around the park’s trees and lampposts and even split a pair of sunbathers. The tanning girls were smiling as I divided them; hopefully they were still in good spirits towards the end of my 150+ person comet trail.
Steve (Agent Walker) appeared to the delight of the crowd and then the fight for Element of the Year was happening before I knew it. At one point during the fight I had to get Agent Kula to replace my iPod as we were pushing each other. I also saw him assist Rain when her headphones were jarred loose. I then pushed him to the ground. Sun is a competitor.
Winning the Element of the Year contest synced up to an “Element of the Year” song on the mp3. At about this time the crowd started an unplanned chant of “Speech, speech!” to me. I took the opportunity to sing along to the ballad playing on the mp3 and deliver it as my speech, and the crowd accepted it as such.
Finally, I knew I had 4 minutes to lead a final conga line around the pond and with 600 people, I had to start booking it to get everyone involved. I skipped and jogged around the first bend with Steve and Snowflake right behind me. We three made eye contact and nodded at our instant recognition of our new goal: create a complete circle around the pond and catch up to the last person in the conga line. We jogged the final bend around the pond, hoping everyone could keep up to us. We actually made a complete circle around the pond as the last song completed. Then as the other panting Agents instantly discarded their suffocating costumes upon completion of the experiment, I basked in my fabricated glory in full regalia. I posed for photos, signed someone’s Sun tattoo, got kisses and kept getting asked the same question: “How did we determine that I would be the Element of the Year?” My reply was always the same, “We had a fight for it, where were you?”
That body suit – and the Snowflake costume above it – would end up claiming a good five pounds of sweat off my person. My Snow group was great – they did their best to master the dance I showed them, even as I kept screwing it up myself. Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice” was the perfect soundtrack for leading them in to join the other groups – we were willing to sacrifice.
The elements fight was the highlight. I loved picking up Agent Becket’s shoe after it’d slipped off – first I taunted with it in the direction of her Cloud group, and then I used it as a weapon, beating the Cloud with her own dainty slipper. The Sun and I had a nice Gladiator moment where we teamed up and started circling the Raindrop. Confession: I caught Agent Dippold with a legitimate clothesline. I was so caught up in the moment of the fight that I actually connected with her, bicep to face. My first thought was “Ooh, I hope I didn’t knock her down” – not because I was worried she was hurt, but because she was supposed to be one of the final two standing. (Snowflake was kind of an aggro asshole, but at least he respected the script.)
Agent Becket (Cloud)
Agent Dippold (Raindrop)
The group was great. For some reason, I always expect people to just be cynics. But when I walked down, it was such a wonderful relief to see 150 huge smiles. Go rain.
During the battle scene, I was fighting not fainting and the fact that both my headphones came out of my ears so I wasn’t sure what was happening. I stuck my arms in my costume to find them, which I later learned some people thought that was some kind of combat move. Not really sure who would use “hiding their arms” as a combat move, but I’m just glad it all looked ridiculous. Also Agent Kula, in character as “Delightful Snowflake”, actually clocked me in the face.
But I had a blast and felt lucky to do it.
Agent Walker (Steve)
The fight was amazing. I knew what was going to happen, as I had heard it hundreds of times at that point, but it was still exciting. I was worried that one of the characters would fall at the wrong time and screw up the timing, but they all managed to fight exhaustion and their unwieldy costumes and stayed upright until all the perfect moments.
The performers, stage managers, and participants all did such a wonderful job. It was a very special day. I think I still have that Steve-damned “Walking on Sunshine” song in my head. Thanks to everyone who played with us.
For the reports of many more participants, read the comments section at the bottom of this page. You can see over 700 more photos (in larger resolution) of this mission at Flickr.
Agent Nicholson’s Highlight Set (39 photos)
Agent Nicholson’s Full Set (300 more)
Agent Pallas’s Set (83 photos)
Agent Mirka’s Set (41 photos)
Panorama photo of the entire crowd (taken by Agent Nicholson)
We have also toured The Mp3 Experiment around the world to places like Berlin, Germany and Adelaide, Australia. If you’re part of an organization (festival, university, arts group) that is interested in commissioning an Mp3 Experiment, get in touch via our contact form.