Acknowledging her tendency to converse with strangers and wanting to share these moments in a creative way, this new project represents Gemma Seltzer’s interest in using digital technology to develop her artistic practice.
The blog is primarily a creative writing exercise for Gemma to produce a sequence of one hundred hundred-word short stories. It will also offer her an opportunity to communicate her frequent encounters and to identify patterns in her social behaviour.
This activity will mainly take place in London, a city full of strangers. There are millions of people living here and Gemma may end up meeting them all. Through positive interactions with new people, she intends to spread a bit of good energy throughout the capital.
Speak to Strangers fitted in nicely with Josie Long’s project One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person, part of the London Word Festival 2010. Read their response to the blog here and also here. Speak to Strangers was featured in the Independent on Sunday magazine on 7 March 2010.
Gemma’s observations so far:
I have noticed that I don’t talk to children or the elderly, I spend a lot of time in shops or walking around the city and I never go west. The strangers seem to be part of a mass now rather than a series of individuals. I’m not just talking to random people, rather building an unlikely network of Londoners whose disparate lives are being brought together and chronicled online. I see the world through the books I read. In my blogs, there’s a trail of Tóibín, Bowen, Faulkner, Hugo Williams and Hempel. The best interactions are the unexpected ones.