the exchange project

part 4

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 5

part 6




The Exchange Project


A 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 understanding.

    The exchange on my part differs from chapter to chapter, based on the specific interaction with my subject.


Part 4: An afternoon with Leroy

Leroy showed me how to construct a lobstertrap based on his 34 years of experience as a fisherman in Maine. In exchange, Leroy requested from me a letter describing the sights, sounds and smells of my home town in Hong Kong.