Best Interactive Art Ever: San Fran’s Hook-Up Truck

San Francisco’s Hook-Up Truck was just unveiled this weekend by performance artist Spy Emerson, paving the way for a brave-new era of interactive art.

No longer will the citizenry of the nation’s liberal mecca have to rush home, steam up car windows or sully up already-grimy bathroom stalls to satisfy their carnal nature. With the roving Hook-Up Truck, the amorous legions who’ve reached their 21st birthday can register with the service online to get a (really) short-term lease on a temperature-controlled private room in the back of Emerson’s purposely incognito commercial-box-truck-as-social-experiment. (But please: no more than two people at a time, the Hook-Up Truck’s conditions stipulate, and unless you pay more than the standard $75 rate, you better be able to finish your business in a half-hour.)

Bonus features: complimentary birth and STD control; the “camera-ready option”; pansexual orientation; and a social media presence allowing for easy tracking.

“This love-nest-on-the-lowdown is either participatory performance art, a safe and convenient place to get down while out on the town, or the end of civilization as we know it, depending on who’s talking,” according to a press release announcing the Hook-Up Truck’s emergence. Explains Emerson, who’s pictured above:

“This is a game for adults who want to play with sex. You have to be nice, and cool” (… no drunks allowed…) “but everyone is welcome to join us. There will be a party going on all the time.”

So far, the truck’s been making the rounds of the city’s festival scene. According to its Facebook page, “We were BANNED from the Oakland “Art” Murmur…” It was the truck’s first planned outing. Several other successful showings have followed over the course of the weekend, though.

Sarah Kidder, the coordinator of the Oakland festival, known as First Friday, told ABC affiliate KGO-TV that Emerson’s truck didn’t fit in with the festival’s standards of acceptability: “This is a free event. It’s open to the public and we want it to feel inclusive and not exclude people by making them uncomfortable.” Besides, she added, Emerson never applied to appear, which gave the festival an easy excuse to exclude the truck.

A local conservative blog called Victory Girls also has come out against the Hook-Up Truck. A recent post just decried how “Sluthood Goes Global” with the truck’s emergence on the streets.

“It’s not enough for people to just be sluts anymore — they’ve got to parade their sluthood in public, and everyone else better approve, dammit, because somehow, sluthood is supposed to be empowering,” writes Victory Girls‘ Cassy Fiano.

These comments are clearly more buttoned-up and alarmist than they need to be. A paper published last year by researchers at the University of Portland, according to a post by Inquisitr, stated that although college students today have a greater tolerance for sexuality and promiscuity, they were no more likely than previous generations to be participating in what could be described as a hook-up culture.

That may be why most of the reception to the Hook-Up Truck has been downright insouciant. Sample the headlines: “Sexytime goes mobile…” quipped Cosmopolitan. “Hot time in the old truck tomorrow…” came from the San Francisco Chronicle. From the Huffington Post:“…(Safe) Sex To A Parking Space Near You.”

Even TIME called the Hook-Up Truck “UBER for your genitals,” quoting Emerson about how the private room is no-frills: “There’s a bench and a handle, like a bar you hold on to. It’s designed to keep clean, so we just wipe everything down. I have bleach and this green stuff. I have disinfective wipes. I guarantee that this is cleaner than BART [San Francisco’s transit system] or any public bathroom that anyone has used recently.”

Though Emerson played down the ambiance, SF Weekly sounded downright riveted about the setting’s exceptional potential for memory-making: “While on the outside the truck is covered in artistic graffiti,” wrote writer Mollie McWilliams, “inside the one-room-truck people can expect to see a usable art space.”

The Hook-Up Truck isn’t Emerson’s only attempt to delve into the intimate affairs of the masses. Last year, her art exhibit at the Copro Gallery was called “Naughty or Nice.” And starting now, she intends to photograph willing participants on the way in and out of the truck, as well as during the encounters of the particularly daring; then, in December, she aims to include the best of these photos in an exhibit at Art Basel in Miami.

She’ll get there in the truck, which by then will be fully broken in and open for business in yet another modern metropolis.

[Image courtesy of Spy Emerson]