Exploring the collective consciousness
Most adults don’t get a chance to use their creativity in their everyday lives. Someguy, a San Francisco based artist, decided to try to change that in the summer of 2000. Having always been fascinated by anonymous art/conversations/poetry and graffiti on public bathroom walls, he decided to start a mail art project consisting of 1,000 blank journals that would be given to strangers, passed along between friends, and travel the world.
He didn’t know if any of the journals would ever be returned to him, but he wanted them to encourage and invite stangers to have their say in whatever form they chose. They could make entries consisting of writing, drawing, doodlings, musings, photography, anything really was fair game. And he invited participants to scan their entries and email them to him to put up on his website.
Both a documentary and a book were produced from this project. The book has entertaining sample entries from around the world and stories of the 1,000 journals’ travels, but the documentary was more entertaining to me. It provides more of a narrative about the project in its various stages.
Both the documentary and book, called “The 1,000 journals project” give a detailed look into the variety of journal entries and personal stories that came about from the passing on of the journals. Some of the written entries in the book are very evocative and thought-provoking. The artwork included is at times very strong and impressive, and at times basic and amateur. Either way, they give a voyeuristic look into the thoughts of strangers, and a peek into their everyday lives – their struggles, joys, and the messages they choose to share with the world.
Participants knew their entries could be made public, so it took away from some of the anonymity of the project. But the entries are still stimulating and inspiring. In fact, the documentary inspired me to start my own art journal with no lined pages, even though I have always been just a regular journaler and writer.
It encouraged me to go beyond those limitations and explore watercolor, collage and random drawings, sketches and scribbles. Find out more about the project and its creator, and see some more juicy journal entries at http://www.1001journals.com/