The project is a situational device I’ve designed to help me (rather, force me) to step outside my comfort zone, practice social interaction and I ask my social network to help me.
On March 1st 2015, I printed out the list of everyone I was friends with on the social network Facebook. I preceded to make a small palm sized vessel with the intention of giving them to each person on that list who I saw in person. Each vessel is unique and stamped with my friend’s name. I will place it in their hand replacing the device that usually connects us.
There are over 600 vessels in the collection.
Before I fused that final edge of the vessel, a message was placed inside, an “anti-instant message”. My friend can destroy the sealed vessel to receive their message, or they can keep the object as a souvenir of the moment we were together.
Each of the shelves in the installation has a unique QR code on it, which is revealed when their vessel is removed. When I give the vessel away, I take a selfie with that person and my custom built app will immediately connect that image, to the unique QR code on the shelf where there vessel used to live.
People who come to the gallery can scan the QR code and see who picked up each vessel, and what it looked like.
The following letter was sent to EACH friend along with an invitation to the first exhibition.
Hello (friends name),
I made something for you, a gift. I transformed found pewter objects (teapots, cups, plates, and bowls) into pocket sized vessels, one for each of my Facebook friends. Yours was designed specifically for you, and has your name stamped on it.
To receive your gift, I must place it in your hand.
I spend a lot of time on social media. With this project I am looking to you, my online friends, to help me practice face to face interaction. Online, I turn to you for advice, validation and support. I feel involved in your life when I see your pictures, like your status, or comment on your posts. I value your friendship and feel connected to you.
For me, the space between us is comfortable. Me at my device and you at yours. This distance makes our online friendship complicated. On one hand, it safely satisfies my need for human connection. Online I do not feel alone. On the other hand, it strips away the vulnerability that is unavoidable in conversation. Face to face I have less control over what I say.
Your gift contains a message. This message is one you will not receive instantly, it is sealed within the walls of the vessel. You can destroy the vessel and receive the message, or you can keep it intact, allowing the vessel to be a reminder of the unpredictable nature of conversation.
I look forward to seeing you again, or for the first time.
– Lucy Louise Derickson
March 1st, 2015