I really enjoyed this documentary about Someguy (an artist in San Francisco who preferred to remain anonymous) distributing 1000 blank journals in random places around San Francisco and to people who requested to write in one over his website. There were few rules: only a request that the journal be returned at some point. What an interesting and hopeful idea and one with results no one could have expected. Here’s the stamp that accompanied each journal.
The Producer, Writer and Director was Andrea Kreuzhage, and director of photography was Ralph Kaechele. These two really provide an intriguing glimpse into this unique story about what can happen with an idea. Someguy wanted his brainchild to travel the world for him: and it certainly has.
Not all have returned to him but such is the nature of such an organic idea: perhaps they’ll come home to roost sometime in the future if they aren’t forever lost. It’s very exciting, really. The person who lead the discussion after this film was shown in the Alma Gallery said that Someguy has received 40 of them back to date. He’s scanned them and has made some available on the website and has even put together an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art showing some of the entries (November 01, 2008 – April 05, 2009) and a book.
Another interesting consequence is the emotional attachment to the material by people who have poured a little of themselves into one or more of the pages. For some it took a long time (years in probably more than one case) to figure out exactly what they wanted to put down and others only minutes. And it extends beyond the time they have it too. One woman who was interviewed after comments made by another person to her entry was extremely upset about what she considered a personal attack. Such investment in something that transcends ownership. And yet, at the end of the documentary, there was a cathartic moment when she was on again and indicated how important the project was to her.
In another case the documentary focuses on several pages that were defaced (often literally) by another entrant. Even when blank pages were available. That brings up questions of artistic freedom, ownership (again), loss and, perhaps, the inability for some to do their own original thing.
The project continues anew at the 1001 journals site.
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