Index is a collection of conversational encounters documented using instant film and a few words. The location, duration, and subject matter of each conversation is dictated by participating collaborators. The primary prompt for us is to discuss something specific to the participant, although this can be interpreted in a number of ways. Some exchanges are intimate. Some are casual. Some feel like an interview. Others are confessional.
Participants make more decisions along the way than I do; I have taken certain precautions to put as much agency and power in the hands of my collaborators as possible. Participants decide exactly where we meet and choose when in the conversation they would like me to take their picture. They decide what caption I will type onto the margin of the Polaroid, which may or may not be representative of our conversation. Participants can decide if they would like to see the photo after I take it. They determine if they would or wouldn’t like their photo shared in a culminating book publication.
What will the images tell about our conversation? What is lost in translation? What will happen when I arrange the images in an arbitrary sequence? Can intimacy be documented?
What are the boundaries between memory, artistic documentation, and creative commodities?
Feel welcome to pass this along to anyone you know who may be interested in participating. I’m curious to see what happens when I work with individuals I know and have history with, and those who I do not.
To participate, contact me at alauramegan [at] gmail.com
Note: In putting the specifics of our encounter under participants’ control, I have had to put myself in some vulnerable positions. Please understand if I ask new acquaintances to schedule our conversation in a more public location than the one you propose. Sites have included living room couches, coffee shops, tea houses, parks, that one bench on that one hill in Portland, and a bed.
Tech: I am not in the business of editing artistic documentation. If something should “go wrong” with the film during our encounter, I will not attempt to re-capture the moment. We will embrace overexposed film and blotchy chemistry. If something should “go wrong” while I type your chosen caption onto the photo margin, I will not attempt to clean up or edit the results. I will do my best to secure healthy film and treat the typewriter with care.
Consent: I will provide a photo release form at the close of our conversation. If you choose to have your photo included in the final book publication, signing this document will give me permission to do so.
Conversations have lasted anywhere from 20 minutes to 8 hours.
As an act of gratitude and reciprocity, I will return the original Polaroid to you after the book has been published.
Funds raised through sale of the book will cover material costs of this and future relational projects.
I will not transcribe our conversation or share the details of our conversation with anyone.
I may include prose, poetry or theoretical essays in the final book based on my own experiences.
My goal is to engage in 50-75 conversations before the close of the project.
This project began in 2011.