Julie Myers

Out Of Our Minds

Man on Bench

Outside the William Gates Computer Science Building

Man on Bench

Visiting Artist - Julie Myers - Oct 12th - Dec 12th 2008

Department of Art and Art History, Experimental Media Arts
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

On my first day at Stanford University I was sitting on a bench at a bus stop. A man sitting next to me asked me what I did at Stanford. I explained that I was a visiting artist from London and asked him what he did. He was from Korea and at Stanford working on his book concerning the ecological, political and economic effects of globalisation on developing countries. This brief exchange planted an idea about the potential of everyday encounters which I began to investigate. I systematically talk to more people on benches and eventually worked my way throughout the campus. In total I spoke to 32 people.

Portraits of participants on Flickr

Talk to people who are sitting on benches.
Take their photograph - note the time and date.
Search for the nearest piece of paper and write down what I remember of the conversation. (I do not allow myself to carry my own paper)
Pin this paper and the photograph on the studio wall
Two months later, as part of an artist lecture, make a slide presentation of each photograph and try to remember what each person talked about.
Print out these memories.
Wearing a clean-room suit, to protect these fragile memories, place the printed texts on the corresponding benches.

Four weeks later I revisited the benches to see if any of the texts remained. I photographed seven benches with fragments of texts.