Saturday, November 28, 2015

Performance artist: Take a break, City Hall drones

Is he a tour guide? A protester? A City Hall staffer in exile?

Performance artist: Take a break, City Hall drones


Is he a tour guide? A protester? A City Hall staffer in exile?

That’s what passersby thought when they spotted Daniel Westfield, 27, sitting in a school desk outside City Hall, wearing a suit and tie, and reading. 

Turns out he’s a performance artist, and he has a message for those of us on the daily grind: Take a break.

A University of the Arts grad student, Westfield sat at the desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and read Alfred Jarry’s The Supermale.

“I came into this piece with a loaded gun that I was going to make some kind of commentary that you go to work and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy pleasure because you conform to the organization that you’re working for," said Westfield, a Fishtown resident and Bronx native.

"You give up a little bit of your personal taste for conformity," Westfield said to a reporter wearing khakis, a blue shirt, brown shoes, a brown belt and a brown tie.

His solution for professional monotony? Employers should provide time and space for workers to exercise, relax or engage in a hobby - like reading, as he did outside all day.

"They’re just caught up in the grind. And if there was time allotted for physical exercise and pleasure, I think they'd be more productive," he said.

His project is called 925, as in “nine to five.”

It apparently caught the eye of Mayor Nutter who talked to Westfield and posed for a photo when passing by.

Nutter "approached me and was curious. I think I fulfilled his curiosity, and he was very welcoming," Westfield said.

Inspiration for the piece, he said, came from his days as an intern at BNY ConvergEX in Manhattan. How did the studio art and psychology major land a Wall Street internship?


Westfield kept track of what people who stopped to talk to him thought he was doing. As of mid-afternoon, 11 people thought he was a City Hall staffer who got in trouble and was being punished.

Clout now officially recommends that the Ethics Board considers having elected officials sit in school desks on South Broad Street as a possible sanction for campaign-finance violations.

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to
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