Speak to Strangers

Gemma Seltzer

Speak to Strangers is a blog of a hundred hundred-word stories about London by Gemma Seltzer. The project started out as as a creative writing exercise and offered Gemma the opportunity to communicate her frequent encounters and to identify patterns in her social behaviour.

Acknowledging her tendency to converse with strangers and wanting to share these moments in a creative way, Speak to Strangers represents an interest in using digital technology to develop an artistic practice.

During a one hundred day period, Gemma recorded her interactions with members of the public in a daily blog with each entry limited to a maximum of one hundred words. As a way to represent her everyday life in visual terms, the location of the encounters will be tracked on an interactive map and categorised by age of stranger, gender and place met.

An ‘interaction’ was defined as an exchange involving two-way communication with a new acquaintance. Each blog was prompted by a real life situation but becomes a fictionalised version of events.

Speak to Strangers mirrored Josie Long’s project One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person, part of the London Word Festival 2010. The project also featured in the Independent on Sunday magazine and will be published as a book by Penned in the Margins in 2011