Brandon LaBelle

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Diary of a Stranger

 

The project explores the social figure of “the stranger” as a way to engage the city of Oslo. In what way does the stranger perform within the urban environment, and in tracking the stranger might certain social demarcations and territorial boundaries be exposed? Through the circulation of a silent object planted within the city, the project introduces a secret intervention onto the streets, seeking to bring into relief narratives of strangeness.

Ten wooden sticks are painted different colors, and fixed with a metal sign that reads: "You don’t know me… I don’t know you… I am lost in the city… Take me with you… Give me to someone else or leave me somewhere special…"

The object is placed outside, or given to friends, to carry forward, to care for the object, to pass it along. The object becomes a social object, a performative material, finding its way through the city, into restaurants, and into people's homes.

In addition, for the week I kept a diary, trying to capture the figure of the stranger, the dynamics of this social character. The diary was presented, as a performative reading in collaboration with the artist Tone Gellien, and is structured as a dialogue that never meets.

Exhibited as part of Manual for the construction of a sound as a device to elaborate social connection, Atelier Nord, Oslo
September 2009