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NY DAILY NEWS
By Leigh Remizowski
Friday, June 18th 2010, 4:00 AM
If a summer excursion doesn’t seem complete without a dash of mystery and a dose of unpredictability, this Long Island City artists’ collective may have just the thing for you.
The Flux Factory’s “Going Places (Doing Stuff)” program provides adventurous New Yorkers a chance to visit little-known places in and around the city during seven weekend trips planned by local artists.
“The catch is, they don’t know where they’re going,” said Jean Barberis, the group’s artistic director. “It’s a leap of faith.”
During the past two summers, participants have piled onto a vegetable oil-fueled school bus and found themselves on unexpected exploits – such as entering a rock quarry in Massachusetts reachable only by zip-line, kayaking through marshes in New Jersey and swimming around the Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island on the Hudson River.
Flux Factory’s curator Georgia Muenster said they like to “keep it as vague as possible” before participants pile onto the bus.
The titles of each trip in this year’s lineup will be released next week.
“The titles have to be appealing, but they can’t reveal too much,” said Barberis, who remained tight-lipped about any details of this year’s excursions.
It’s this intrigue that makes the 35-person trips so popular.
“There is a lot of folklore about what had gone on the summer before,” said Michelle Levy, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who has gone on two excursions. She took part in setting the world record for the most people to use one piece of floss at the same time; she swam in Brooklyn‘s invitation-only Dumpster pools, and she met the man who spends his days building rock sculptures on Staten Island.
“Everywhere you go you’re met by a different person who engages you in a different activity,” she said. “It’s like a Huckleberry Finn adventure.”
The Flux Factory commissions a different individual or team of local artists to concoct each of the six day trips and one overnight trip – which will span seven weekends beginning July 10.
Carolyn Lambert, of Ridgewood, has planned two “Going Places (Doing Stuff)” outings. She collaborated with artist Siobhan Rigg to create a trip dubbed “From Solid to Liquid” last August. They took people to the South Street Seaport, the Seaman’s Church Institute, Ikea and Kearney Marsh in New Jersey – all to explore the city’s connection with the melting Arctic Circle and the Northwest Passage.
“It was just fantastic to have people who are willing to trust you for eight hours and let themselves be at your whim,” Lambert said.
The trips are so popular that they often sell out in a matter of minutes. The cost for the day trips is $20 while the overnighter is $40.
Barberis has also been approached by an artists’ collective in Miami that wants to create its own version of “Going Places (Doing Stuff).”
“It’s a great project,” Barberis said. “I’m glad to see someone replicating it.”