Dear All, I thought my project for the upcoming Next Wave Festival (Melbourne, May) might be of interest...
Setting up office as part of the 2008 Next Wave Festival, Stranger of the Month invites members of the public to visit our mailroom where our clerks will assist you in distributing instructions to unsuspecting strangers via fax, post and the web.
Stranger of the Month is an amateur publishing project based on novel forms of distribution and collective creativity. A service for generating instructions for the anonymous other, Stranger of the Month takes its cue from ‘how to’ manuals, spy novels, new age self-help mantras, and minor acts of everyday subversion.
Coming from a non-technical background I have attempted to mimic an open source community while being deliberately low-fi in my approach (instructions are typed on a 50s Brother typewriter).
While the concept contains ideas that have been circulating amongst these practices for some time, my goal was really to create a collective expression of these practices. I love the idea of an open source database for instructions/ participatory art/ games for example - a toolkit for public engagement. I will be encouraging artists to attach a creative commons license on these works, although issues of artistic ownership are strangely placed in this project, and am still not decided on whether this will seem almost token.
Part of the project also includes participatory projects by artists, to be published in print media during the festival and performed live in public space. One such project by Hugh Davies is an analogue version of a locative game involving hand-drawn maps. Taking participants on a trail through the city from one map to another, participants follow the instructions until the few left are invited to draw their own maps and take over the game, thus providing the potential for new situations and interventions to occur.
I am currently working on the website - it should be complete by May. It's www.strangerofthemonth.com for those who are interested.
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