People have always been my favorite medium for creativity. When I was younger, I would create fake lives with pictures of people from magazines. There would be fake love triangles, fake sexual tension (or whatever version a 7 year old has) and fake friendships. The quest for relationships has taken over my entire life. It’s been there with me for every single decision I make. It’s caused extreme heartache as well as adventures. I’ve hated myself for it, thinking I was pathetic for always seeking people. Ironically, this search for meaningful relationships has left me without many lasting ones. always hot and heavy But as I grow older, I’ve relinquished the idea that I must fight it. It is neither bad nor good, it just is. People are my medium of choice, I’m going to rock that and this project was a direct reflection of that.
As I start to write this reflection I find my head going in a trillion different places, of course,t his has to do with the fact that this project is very conceptually and emotionally loaded for me. So I’ve decided to try and break this down by each element of the project.
So, naturally, this imagination for relationships has taken a new form. It’s no exposed in the form of interest in human interaction. More specifically, human interaction that is deeper than the surface. That is what I subconsciously set out to do in The Waste Date Project. I was searching for hot and heavy human connection.
I only invited people I was interested in some way or another. Boys and girls, no difference. I started this project coming out of a damaging relationship. No, the other party wasn’t a bad guy at all but the circumstances our relationship was based on was damaging. I didn’t really feel free, through no fault but my own.
The Date Setup
It’s the energy between two people that draws me. That energy that exists in the space between two people. I didn’t tell anyone that these were dates because I didn’t want anyone to think that I wanted to go on a date with them. So what did I want them to think? That I thought that they were interesting people but they were still only 1 of 15. That was my safety blanket the whole time..that number. It’s like telling someone you love that you love them in a sarcastic voice. In that case, the sarcasm is the safety blanket.
I kept a running list on the wall that listed every date and corresponding restaurant that took part in the project. The list was another barrier for me. Having this list gave me credibility. I got scared writing some names on the wall, afraid of showing them that I had even thought about them in the process of writing the name on the wall. The idea that they knew that I wanted to hang out with them left me extremely vulnerable. That’s why the restaurant and food waste was important.
This project was not about the issue of food waste. Yes, that is something I’m very passionate about and I definently let some people think that but in my gut/heart/wherever the almighty one lives, I know that in the situation of this project, that was not the focus. The focus was the idea that there was a body across the table from me. They were there for me, that was completely transparent. So why go through the hassle of biking to over 15 restaurants in Gainesville and asking them for their food trash and cardboard? Why balance boxes of cardboard on your scooter, legs spread eagle and thighs flexing hard just to ensure that they don’t fly away as you make that turn? Why rush home every night to figure out how to make tubs of rejected food into a tasty, attractive meal? Why rush home every night to try and turn sometimes soggy boxes into an appropriate table and chair combination?
Because by using items who’s primary use is complete, the only thing added into the world is the energy between my date and I during our time.
That energy is the only thing I created during this project. Everything else was borrowed for the purpose of setting up the classic date situation that is culturally recognized as a place to focus your attention on the person across from you.
That brings me to my next point, the date aspect. I was interested in this idea of sitting across from someone with all of this pre-conceived expectations and plans you may have for them.
There also is something to be said for all the energy exchanged during the collection of these borrowed items. I crafted a new map of a memory of Gainesville for myself. I know this town better, I know the local business that make up this town’s economy better.