October 22, 2008

October 22, 2008

I see this project as consisting of three main components:

  1. The physical exchanges between me and my hosts… conversations we have, time we spend together, food we share, planning the logistics of the next night, etc.  This is not something I feel I can adequately share with those who are not participating, nor am I even interested in that.  Performances are never the same unless you were there.
  2. This blog as an honest diary / reflection chronicling my experiences and opening up the space of the project beyond those immediately involved.  The option to comment is made available for anyone who wants to, but ultimately this is a place for me to present this process as I see and live it.
  3. The physical installation to be shown after the thirty nights have elapsed, presented in conjunction with another project I am currently working involving participants’ “last meals”.  I am currently thinking this will consist of a printed collection of the photographs, connected to form a timeline or social-web of those who housed me.

#1 should manifest itself naturally–it is essentially built into the project parameters, assuming I am being honest and open to what is going on.  #3 is fairly irrelevant at the moment, given I cannot really plan an installation of a performance when it is only a fifth done.  #2 is where I am most focused at the moment.  Now that the innate shock of sleeping elsewhere has worn off and I am getting used to writing a blog (the necessary egotism and openness is incredibly unnatural for me), I really need to make sure that these entries are as honest and encapsulating of my experience as possible.  This is as much a part of the work as any other and will really be the only way for me to examine and present what happens on a night-to-night basis, as opposed to just telling people something trite and dishonest after the project is completed.  “It was awkward” or “I really connected with people” do not do the experience justice.

On that note, this morning in new genres was the first time I have fallen asleep in class in probably two years.  I think that really shows the physical toll this is taking, even if Harry did show four straight hours of video.  I have been going to sleep later than I normally would when I have to get up early the next morning and getting up earlier than I normally would on days when I can sleep in–a combination of the inevitable (socially necessary) pre-sleep talking and having to get up when anyone in the house does.

Last night I slept at Dominick’s, but didn’t get over there until close to one when he got back from a concert.  Earlier in the night his roommate Brian invited me over early to play xbox, which would have been amazing… but this was before I discovered Brian had also clogged my sink while helping cook his aforementioned last meal.  So I headed over there after about two and a half hours of sink plunging and dish washing instead.  Dom and I only talked for a few minutes since we both had to get up real early this morning, but I did propose a collaborative project that we’re hopefully going to work on where he covers various people’s “breakup songs” and I make videos for them.  I was pretty excited to get to talk about it (which I think I played down); I have wanted to work with him for years now, but the right idea never really coalesced.

Falling asleep on their giant fluffy couch was fine, although I could hear Brian and the other roommate Wes talking in the other room and I would have loved to hang out if I wasn’t already only going to get five hours of sleep.  I don’t remember waking up at all and in the morning I immediately silenced my cell phone alarm, barely getting up in time to leave for class.  Tonight I am sleeping at Dom’s bandmate John’s house, which happens to be right next to where I slept outside the other day.  John and I see a lot of each other, but rarely talk (and I usually have no understanding of what he is talking about–often math and drumline) so hopefully it will be a good chance for conversation and a way to move out of my immediate circle of friends.  I do, however, have plans to go to Knott’s tonight with some coworkers and so hopefully my getting back late will work out with his schedule… I still need to find that out.

Today Julie in the New Genres department heard about the project and asked if I had talked to any actual homeless people my age.  I had not and didn’t really even think it was much of a problem, but I guess it is.  She gave me the name of a place where she teaches video (Common Grounds) and I think I’m going to at least look into it.  I don’t know how much I feel it relates to this project (I am not really engaging in or with homelessness on any meaningful level) but it is definitely an interesting connection that I should explore.

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3 Responses to “October 22, 2008”

  1. Eric Lee Says:

    I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

  2. erin Says:

    we’ve been talking about homelessness in my punishment and social control class, and one of the things we talked about is the common misconception that homelessness is associated with dirty and/or crazy people who live in alleys and urban areas and such…
    a lot of times they’ll use the term “marginally housed” to include the much more common situations where people “couch surf,” stay with relatives/friends, are in and out of public housing, shelters, etc., stuff that’s a lot more common, but less talked about because it’s not as visible or offensively present.
    so, while you aren’t really homeless, i think you would be surprised to find that there are a lot of people that are considered marginally housed that are in very similar situations to what your project somewhat simulates.
    it’s definitely worth looking into. just my thoughts.


  3. While I recognize the existence of “marginally housed” youth, I think my focus on creating social events while still having and visiting my apartment really separates this from a connection with them. Actually simulating such an experience would be a very different project and I think it would just be presumptuous for me to approach this group of people as if I had any idea of how they lived. This piece stems out of the luxury of not having to worry about where I sleep at night and flirts with the notion of uncertainty, but I don’t think it legitimately makes any claim of danger or desperation. That being said, I am interested in the subject and agree it’s worth looking into…

    I have also been contemplating what it would be like if I had found a “marginally housed” collaborator to spend thirty nights in my apartment while I was spending thirty nights out. Hmmm.


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