Instructions on how to participate in ‘Against the Flow’.

  • Before you arrive at Utrecht Station please think about what is normal behaviour for you in a public space.
  • What would you need to do to appear non-normal, for yourself and for people around you?
  • We are testing the boundaries of normality and the unwritten rules of behaviour in public space.
  • A good way to start thinking about this is asking yourself, ‘What is the smallest action I could make that would make me appear non-normal?’
  • Start with subtle actions that sit on the boundary of your normality and tip over it, these might be more revealing initially as here we can observe the edges.
  • This edge is different for everyone. So find what you are comfortable with and then challenge it and move into actions that you are less comfortable with.
  • Please work with your group to support each other to take it in turns to swim against the flow, to challenge what is accepted.
  • Use the space, architecture and public behaviour to explore the unwritten rules.
  • Work fast, but take time also to watch and consider people’s use of the space.
  • Rather than waiting to think of an idea, you can develop the previous person’s action, or just start doing something, it doesn't matter what.
  • Action leads to action, use movement as a way to create thoughts. Work collaboratively if you wish.

Example actions: lying face down on the ground, walking up the down escalator, walking backwards, pointing at things (if you need to, these can be a good starting point to start exploring)

  • Please don’t break the law. This is too obvious.
  • Please don’t disturb or obstruct anyone on purpose.
  • Please film only yourselves and not the public.

There might be a concern or reaction from the public that you are playing with mental illness. This has happened to me before. We can be clear that this is not our intention. It is however an indication of the cultural boundaries defining normal behaviour and our sensitivity to how we observe and use our actions to measure each other.

Against the Flow was commissioned and produced by Public Works, Utrecht

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