We’re still not positive what went down yesterday afternoon. Early yesterday morning, we got word that the Collective Museum would be throwing some kind of music-based performance art event on Fifth Avenue at 3PM. We checked out the cryptic Collective Museum website and gleaned almost nothing, other than this was some kind of interactive museum.
We went over to Fifth Avenue to get to the bottom of the situation. Sure enough: there were musicians with horns and drums on every street corner between 21st Street and Washington Square on Fifth Avenue all wearing white shirts with paper pink flowers and matching sashes that read #houseofthemuses.
When asked what exactly was going on, the musicians couldn’t really answer. They didn’t seem evasive, they just seemed not to know what was going on.
“There’s going to be a movement of sound rolling down fifth avenue,” a trombone player told me. A sax player informed me that this was for a museum opening, “a kids museum, only for adults.” A third informed us that they would play a single tone, creating a wave of sound around 3PM. Then, the furthest north musician would walk down a block, join with that musician, until the musicians were moving en masse to Washington Square Park where they would jam. They also mentioned they’d be handing out clues.
So far, so weird.
We loitered beneath the arch in Washington Square Park, waiting for this procession. The sound ultimately was unmistakable: a kind of drone, like a flat and distant car horn beeping in perpetuity, gathering in volume as it moved south. Finally, the gaggle of band members appeared on the sidewalk, crossed over the Washington Square and broke it down into a rather funky, if chaotic jam session. Fifty-odd mystified onlookers watched.
After a few tunes, the band stopped. The musicians pulled the pink flowers of their shirts — the clues — and handed them out to members of the crowd, then dispersed as quickly as they’d gathered. Allegedly, the clues allude to the future location of the museum. The only clue we could get our hands on read “your muse awaits under the willows #houseofthemuses.”
We left more baffled than when we’d arrived.
What is this Collective Museum? An experiential children’s museum for adults? Was this a publicity stunt or a serious piece of performance art? Is there more where that came from? No answers, just questions.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
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