The Renegade Craft Fair has come and gone. Just like Boy Scouts, we took only pictures and left only footprints, except for the part where I neglected to take any pictures due to running around fixing tents and crooked totems. Fortunately the installation was a photo magnet and folks used the #camprenegade tag for easy finding, so below are some others’ lovely images instead (and if you’d prefer I not share your photo, please let me know and I’ll remove it).
Thanks to all my friends who created the awesome totem poles – Carleigh Queenth, Yung En Chen, Joshua Inman, and Koren Shadmi. They were definitely the stars of the show. Extra-special megathanks to Jim Campbell for making ‘Camp Renegade’ shirts and spending the weekend manning the installation. Also for being a generally awesome dude who helped with transport, stump-painting and young’un management.
Yes, child management. Just after finishing setup on the first day, a woman came up tittering nervously asking ‘Hahahaha…is this daaaaaaycare?’ HELL NO IT IS NOT DAYCARE. Fuming I looked around and realized why she might have thought that. Despite my dislike of child swarms and however unintentionally, I’d absolutely created a kid magnet. Tiny tipi, fun-sized tents, and wee lil’ stools ensured a steady stream of children running around and around shrieking and giving me heart palpatations all weekend. Their youthful exuberance was mostly harmless and sort of cute, especially compared to the Adult Naptime that set in around 1:30pm.
Fully grown adults just parked it under the tents, feet poking out , and went to sleep. I can’t begrudge them – it was boiling out and every culture that isn’t a bunch of puritan workaholics has some form of naptime encouragement. It just got a bit creepy when kids would run up to play in a tent and a fully clothed man would be in there snoring.
Most visitors seemed to really enjoy themselves, taking lots of photos, asking questions about construction, chatting with other people sitting and hanging around. If I created a space people could rest, take silly photos and relax in, mission accomplished. People were pleasant, respectful of the installation, happy to chat. After hours in the baking sun I’m not sure the same could be said of me. Sun, heat, blinding sun, a constant flow of people; I think I understand why Meursault shot that guy on the beach (on top of the universe’s meaninglessness and indifference).
While I’m complaining, it’s a two-way tie for worst visitor between the French family whose kids (aged 11 or so) just ran up and started SHAKING the totems; when I shouted several times for them to stop, their mom/guardian/aunt/whatever, who along with three other adults had been standing nearby and texting, looked over and said ‘They do not speak English, that is why they do not listen.’ THEN TELL THEM IN WHATEVER LANGUAGE THEY SPEAK TO STOP DOING THAT. Also as they responded to a snack request in English two minutes later, I highly doubt they didn’t understand an angry lady yelling while they shook something tied down to the ground. Their texting aunt then dropped her luggage against the totem (I had to go over and move it off the tie-down lines), parked it in a tent and spent the next hour texting. They had stiff competition in the two nasally-accented young ladies who stripped down to bikinis and used the tent closest to the tipi as their own private shade spot. ‘Ohmigawwwwd this is sooooo niiice they set this up for ussss.’ It was not set up for you to natter on with your friend and lounge for the entirety of the afternoon, you sun-soaked scandal, it was for EVERYONE to enjoy. I find tanning and wearing bathing suits for purposes other than swimming both personally distasteful, so having their greasy bodies well in my field of view was pure irritation. At least they fell asleep at some point and stopped talking about celebrity gossip.
Overall I think this was a wonderful experience, if an intensely physical one. I’m not sure whether I’ll do something on this scale again, but who am I kidding I probably will next time someone asks. I adore giant spectacle! But if there’s to be interactivity I’ll hire an extrovert for sure. Or at least someone better at appreciating the natural curiosity of children.
Angry Jim created this short video of the installation; it doesn’t convey the smell of fried food, glaring heat or the distant sounds of remixed R&B, but it gets the job done.