I started out making a couple of signs, the kind you stick up around the neighborhood when your cat is lost, or you're selling a table, or your kid wants to walk dogs for money. Standard letter sized paper, usually some kind of illustration on the top third, then some text, and along the bottom a set of tear-off tabs with some sort of reminder text and contact information. Mine were different.
My first signs were:
- a photo of a car; the word "CAR"; and a set of tabs each with the word "CAR" on them.
- a photo of me, looking crazed; text indicating that I was OK, tend talk too much, and not to feed me; tabs reading "SOME GUY"
- a photo of my dog; text consistent with an automobile for sale; tabs reading "DOG"
I stuck these things up, and photographed them. I am fascinated by photography projects which rephotograph photos, for some reason, so I did that.
Also, I tore one tab off. Since that's what you do, you tear one off as a starter, to suggest that there's interest in whatever you're selling or whatever.
Then people started taking tabs.
"Well, that's weird," I thought, thought I. They took a lot of tabs. My signs get more traction than the actual signs selling shit.
Which is kind of a dick move? Am I putting the boots to kids trying to run a dog walking business, or am I increasing interest in stuff stuck to telephone poles? I dunno.
Regardless. I made a few more surreal signs, one offering free tabs, and a pair about a lost photo of a dog, and a found photo of a dog, each featuring a photo of a photo (the same photo) which I then, yes, photographed again. These too got some traction. I am learning about where to place signs, and how to orient them.
My children were enamored of the "free tabs" sign, and one of them made her own which I put up next to mine. First, I wrestled with this intrusion on my project but then I decided that it was about community and interaction, so, onwards! I stuck hers up, and people have taken some of her tabs. She sometimes writes her B's backwards, so technically they are "tads."
I keep photographing these signs, as the weather and community interaction gradually dissolve them, which takes a surprising amount of time.
Having struggled a bit with how I can do something with the community interaction, I've put up a couple polls. Chocolate or Vanilla? Dogs or Cats? with tabs alternating the two choices. Chocolate and Cats, by the way.
Having trained people to answer polls, I think I'm going back to surreal, but with polls. Dogs or Chocolate? Yes or No? Cats or Yes? but that's for next week.
I don't know how appealing the photos are going to be, but the essay should be entertaining!