With the shops identified the process was relatively simple: 86 red mats could be shipped as is in standard red design, whilst the 14 mats would be customised.
We wanted to annotate/tag each mat before bringing them together in one place – a process which we completed through a number of tasks.
14 volunteers were sought through posts on Sina and RenRen (The Volunteer Photographer Task) where we asked them to take part in an ‘art project’. Mostly it was university students that responded The final city selection was Xian, Xiamen, Shanghai, Shijiazhuang, Shenyang, Beijing, Jinan, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Kunming, Chengdu, Lanzhou.
The volunteer was given two tasks: to stencil the back of each mat with a number and to and to photograph the front and back of the mat.
In an earlier design task 14 sets of stencil packs were commissioned – each set included numbers 1 to 10, a framing circle and the project logo. Each volunteer was shipped one set of stencils. In order to maintain sufficient consistency in style and location of the stencil – a ‘How to Stencil Subtask’ was setup – we expected them to generate written instructions, but they actually shot a video – that can be viewed on Yukou (优酷, akin to YouTube). As with other tasks – the experiment embraced the aesthetic values of the participants, and aside from issues of clarity (with the stencilling task) no guidelines or art-direction were provided for design.
Money was sent to the volunteers to cover shipping, and once the stencilling and photography task was complete – the mats were packaged up and shipped to a central location in Shanghai. A few days before the first assembly (April 1st, 2012), they were packed in a truck and driven up to Beijing – the courier company waited at the 5th ring-road before getting the green light to enter the capital.
The Postal Delivery Success Rate Subtask
We doubt any commercial postal service has a 100% delivery record and we anticipated that some parcels will arrive late, or not arrive at all (The Postal Delivery Success Rate Subtask). There were 7 main shipping activities over the course of the experiment: stencils to 14 volunteers; paint to 14 volunteers; 100 mats to 100 locations; 100 stencilled mats to Shanghai warehouse (photos below); sending to for assembly in Beijing; returning to storage warehouse in Shanghai; shipping to paying customers.
For example the ~100 mats were shipped from the mat-sellers to the stencillers using nine different services: YunDa (韵达快运); ShenTong Express (申通快递); YTO Express（圆通速递); S.F. Express (顺丰速运); LB Express (龙邦物流); ZTO Express（中通速递; ZJS Express (宅急送); EMS （中国邮政速递物流; and TTK Express (海航天天快). Six additional plain red mats were commissioned to cover for the eventuality – so up to 106 parcels could arrive. 100% of the parcels arrived successfully.