the exchange project

part 6

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5




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 6: Surviving on the Streets

When Toney pulled out an old photograph from behind his security desk, an incredible life story of surviving on the city streets began to unfold. He shared how he was shaped by the streets, taught by the streets, how he battled the streets, and even commanded the streets. The sharing was for me an intensely private and revealing window into one person's life journey. Toney and I jointly decided that this photograph will stand in for the audio recording of our conversation as documentation to our encounter. In exchange for his sharing, I gave Toney a visual compilation of movement and rhythm sourced from dances of different cultures, eras, and patterns in nature--  Dance as a celebration of life, and self-expression through an evolution of mimicry and self-adaptation.