Well, the weirdness is over. The mannequins have all finished their stories.
On the final day almost all the mannequins were out of their windows and climbing up onto the buildings and the overhangs above the store windows. It reminded me of that Improv Everywhere thing where they encouraged everyone to ‘look up more’. In fact, a middle agey touristy couple saw me staring up at the baby and mother dangling from the corner of Kirks and asked what I was looking at. It was good to share it with someone.
The Sniper storyline with the dead mannequins and the police detective in pursuit was my favourite one, it wasn’t on the official map because it moved most days between shops. It was exciting trying to find the sniper, although I’m bummed I didn’t look up and behind me on the days the mannequins died, apparently he was in a higher window across the road.
The mannequins were weird, sometimes upsetting, disturbing and a bit scary. That said, I wanted to look at them every day. Even on the days when I came away feeling unsettled, I was overall happier for having looked at them. It’s not often that something so unusual happens in our storefronts, and it did make the ordinary shop windows look incredibly boring.
It made you think about the creepy nature of mannequins. They aren’t human, but they’re close enough. Imagine if they had thoughts and emotions. It made you think about how things are sold to you. Especially the little price labels visible on many of the displays. The French farmers growing and harvesting bottoms had a list of their clothes and prices, which didn’t change all week. The lovers in Stax window had changing price tickets that had her severed arm ‘price negotiable’ on Friday. It was high brow culture-jamming basically. People would stop and look again, try and make sense of what they were seeing. You don’t often get that in relation to shop windows.
Stuff also have an article on why the story in David Lawrence was taken down before it ended.
If you didn’t make it in to see them, check out the project’s French website. It has photos for each day of each story, they played out a little differently in Wellington, due to the spaces. There are also two stories in there that we didn’t get. (Homeless woman and Grandfather’s birthday.)