Because he was behind us and we couldn’t see him, I first thought the man yelling at all the passengers on the train was a crazy person. He was warning us to have manners and not take up the seats next to us with our luggage. Then I thought maybe it was an art performance. When I realized it was the conductor, I got a little scared, and felt sorry for him at the same time. He seemed like he was on the edge.
So why did I think it might be an artist’s performance? About 10 years ago I read and article in the Village Voice. I don’t remember who the artist was, but he said one of the things he loved about being an artist, is that he can bring a plate with feces on it to his gallery director and the director would actually have to consider it and hear what he had to say, before rejecting it as not being art.
So what if the guy on the train was an artist and not a conductor. Seeing him as an artist made me consider the whole incident in ways I may not have otherwise thought about it. I was still thinking about him long after he left the car. I think that is one of the powerful things that art can do, make us think and open our minds to new ideas and possibilities instead of just casually dismissing them.