Conflux NYC Update: Murgida’s 9/10


As I plugged here, during the Conflux Festival in NYC Bay area artist Lucas Murgida built a lovely wooden cabinet, left it on a sidewalk and hid inside it. Murgida stayed inside the cabinet for the bulk of Saturday and Sunday afternoon with a bottle of water and some garbage bags, not revealing himself until a New Yorker passing by would seize possession of the cabinet and bring it to their home. 

Saturday was uneventful. The cabinet was left in the street, people were somewhat tempted but in the end the cabinet was left untouched.  On Sunday Murgida repeated the performance and it was–to say the least– much more eventful.  Murgida, along with the cabinet was rolled into the storage room of a restaurant. You can see some shots of what Murgida saw from the pictures he took from his cell phone camera (here).  In the end, although his plan was to leave undetected and in turn, relinquishing posession of the cabinet to the new owner, things worked out a bit differently.  To read the artists final statement of the project

On 09/14/08, I put myself on a different street that seemed to be quieter and more residential. It was extremely humid in Manhattan and there was very little wind. I was calmer and less scared than I had been the previous day. Though I over heard many conversations, most people decided not to take the cabinet because the bottom drawers were locked or because it was too heavy. After about 3 hours someone started opening and closing the drawers, moving the cabinet back in forth, and examining it. This went on for quite some time and eventually someone asked this person a question in regards to the cabinet. This is how I found out about my examiner. She told the other person that she was thinking about taking the cabinet and that she lived on the east side of the park. To hear her talk was comforting and it calmed me down. After a while she began to roll the cabinet by herself. Because the cabinet is long, heavy and the wheels swivel it is almost impossible to roll by oneself. She was unable to make it more than a block and then stopped. It was quite it for a while and I wasn’t sure what was happening. A few minutes later I heard a different woman and two men speaking in Spanish near the cabinet. It was hard for me to hear what they were saying but it boiled down to, “This is nice! Should we take? Sure, why not!” and in less than a minute I was being rolled quickly down the sidewalk. We moved for about five minutes before we came to stop. I was then lifted and rolled up and incline. I couldn’t tell where I was and I was scared that I had been rolled into the back of a box truck. After a few minutes I was pushed to the side and I heard a new voice from someone that was speaking both Spanish and English. He told the others to push it against the wall and to wait until the boss came back. He also said that they could drill a big hole in each of the bottom locks to get them open. This sent me into a panic as I didn’t want shards of metal and drill bits being projected into the cabinet. Luckily they didn’t have the tools to do it. The Spanish speakers then left and it was relatively quiet. I calmed down and started to figure out where I was. By looking through the holes in the back of the cabinet I could see boxes and kitchen supplies. I had been rolled into the storage room of a restaurant. All this time I was taking pictures and texting messages to my blog. I stayed in the cabinet for about a half and hour and it was clear that there was only one person working in the back. I opened the door to the cabinet and poked my head out. I was facing a set of storage shelves that had chopsticks and other assorted kitchen supplies. I heard someone coming so I closed the door quickly. After it had been quite for a while I poked my head out again and pushed cabinet far enough away from the shelves so the door could be opened fully. I then pulled myself out far enough to scan the kitchen. There was one man working and organizing in the space. I could also see two doors behind me. One was the way back to the street (I presumed). I pulled myself back into the cabinet, locked the door and considered my options. As previously mentioned it was hot, at least in the upper 80’s and very humid. I felt at least 10 degrees hotter in the kitchen and realized that I shouldn’t stay in the box for too much longer. I had been successfully moved from a public space to a private space without anyone realizing it, which had been my intention. Having realized this I decided to get out. I unlocked the door, poked my head out and surveyed the scene. I saw the chef and he was working in one of the walk in coolers. I pulled myself back in and got my things ready. I turned on my camera and slowly pulled myself out of the cabinet and began to take pictures while crouching behind the cabinet. I then turned and saw the two doors, one of which would lead back to the street (though I didn’t know which one). I hurried towards the one to the right and entered an office. The door to the street was locked. I turned around and chef walked into the room. He was quite shocked and asked me what I was doing, why I was taking pictures and how I had gotten in. I told him that I was lost and was looking for the way out. He asked again how I got in and I told him that I was in the box. He asked which box I was referring to and I pointed to the cabinet. I then explained that I was an artist and that I had hidden myself in the cabinet and that I wasn’t going to exit that cabinet until someone took me off the side walk and brought me into a private space. He saw the secret compartment and I showed him that I wasn’t stealing anything. I gave him my business card and he told me that it was a rather hot day to be doing something like this, to which I agreed. He offered me a glass of water and I declined. He asked what was going to happen to cabinet and I told him that it no longer belonged to me but to whoever took it off the street. This surprised him. I told him that I needed to go and asked if I could take a couple more pictures of the kitchen and he agreed. I then exited out of the door to the left and tried to gather myself together. I was in the cabinet for about 4 hours that day and 5 hours the previous day. Despite the fact that I was really hoping to leave the space that I was brought into without anyone seeing me, I am still pleased with the outcome and happy that nothing bad happened.

I would like to thank everyone that monitored my progress, wrote me during the experience and was concerned for my safety. Your thoughts and well wishes were infinitely helpful.

Thank you,
Lucas Murgida

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