Cultural Hijack: Real Fake Atrium Cafe

Through brainstorming for a space for our Hijack, one of our first ideas was to reinvent the area formerly known as the Atrium Cafe, a Heimbold classic and much-missed coffee and snack source among faculty and students alike.

Our next thought was what to serve and the immediate idea was: COFFEE! Creating a real environment of a comfortable café space for students to hang out and enjoy some free caffeinated beverages during stressful conference times, complete with pop covers playing overhead and baristas in matching hipster outfits. To highlight the impermanence of the cafe, we decided to have it open for one day only, and we chose cardboard and brown paper as our medium for creation. We measured the existing Atrium cafe infrastructure and cut out the cardboard and paper.

We decided on Monday, December 9th as the date of implementation. The night before, we assembled our cardboard pieces, recorded music covers to play during the day, and had a blast :) Additionally, we made small signs out of cardboard that we hung around Heimbold to advertise.

Recording lovely covers for our guests-to-be…

We started Monday fresh in our matching hipster outfits, and ready to serve free coffee to the denizens of Heimbold Visual Arts Center. Customers were handed small punchcards (made of cardboard) that, when handed to the barista, gave them access to a free cup of joe. The most popular flavors were Most popular items were Sludge, Sexy Mommy Juice, Nitro Sludge, and Holiday Sludge–ordering any item off the menu resulted in getting plain black coffee

Throughout the day, over 150 people came to our Real Fake Atrium Cafe. The responses varied from skepticism to confusion, to outright joy and laughter. One student even came up and asked us to share all our data with them, so that they could present to the administration on the popularity of our one-day café!

Some quotes:

“What is this? I’m confused. Why are you both wearing hats?”

— Caden Manson

“Tastes like Dada”

—Lois Shaw

Overall, this could be labeled a very successful Hijack. Not only was the result exciting, but the construction and brainstorming process was a pleasure. It’s been a real joy to work with this group of artists this semester, and I can’t wait to see what we do next.