the exchange project
simple human interaction can be a rich lesson. I started the Exchange
Project in 2010 as a unstructured and on-going exploration into
informal education and tacit forms of knowing.
Each chapter of the project emerges from
casual dialogue with people I encounter, where conversation about some
particular knowledge or skill we each possess opens up. The
chapters may explore knowledge derived from personal experiences,
observations, insights, intuition, information passed-down from
previous generations, or habits particular to one’s life
circumstances. My encounters then develop into 'lessons' and
sharing of personal values around the particular knowledge or skill.
I look at this project not just in the context
of individual or community-specific forms of knowing, but as well as a
person’s chosen form of self-presentation. It has become a window for
me to see how the people I encounter identify themselves despite career
titles, and what they think others may have overlooked about them.
Through spending time in dialogue and in performing the exchanges, my
objective is to understand the underlying framework of how one
comes to know, how such knowledge is shared and performed, as well as
the mutual suspending of assumptions in order to arrive at mutual
The exchange on my part differs from chapter to chapter, based on the specific interaction with my subject.
1: Un-kitsch a Christmas Card
Aissulu showed me how to "un-kitsch" a Christmas card she bought from a
store, which like many store-bought cards, does not suit her taste. In
exchange, I organized her studio space.