Recap: Fully Fitted Experiment at ICA

The advantage of dubbing something an “experiment” is that — no matter what the outcome — you’ve achieved your goal. That’s not a swipe at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which has hosted a number of successful — and daring — avant-garde “Experiment” shindigs at its Waterfront home base. I’m just saying that my not having had the best time since senior prom doesn’t mean the throwdown wasn’t interesting, or even worthwhile.

Whether it was the start-and-stop rain or the ICA’s simply over-anticipating the attendance, the set-up for last Friday’s Fully Fitted Experiment (with Pase Rock, XXXchange, and Ghostdad) made the place feel empty. It was a slightly new approach, with most of the party moving from the gallery, then to the theater, and eventually to the open space downstairs. As opposed to what happened at the notorious/legendary Obey Experiment back in February, at no point were all three rooms simultaneously sardined.

In the theater, the good folks from the Berwick Research Institute brought a massive live art showcase. The countercultural voyeur in me enjoys watching cats paint in person, but I never understood how they refrain from turning spray cans on the crowd. Personally, I’d rather saw my arm off with a rusty spoon than have people stand behind me and sip cocktails while I write.

Since I don’t dance unless someone with a six-shooter is pointing at my toes, I can’t evaluate how the rest of the night went. The beats definitely lubricated hips, however, and — as always at the ICA — it was the type of crowd that prefers to dance than to stand around sipping pricy drinks in plastic cups. Perhaps that’s why I lasted only till 11:25 pm.

In retrospect, though, I understand that ICA parties are best approached the way you’d enjoy a mountaintop-castle rendezvous. First you relish the art collection upstairs; then you elevator to the second floor for cocktail hour; finally, you retire to the rez-de-chaussée, where fashionable disc jockeys are blessing the gala. These experimental outings are hardly savage ragers, but they’re splendid affairs nonetheless.


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