A potential friend
video, photographs and text
In Forcing Friendship I investigate if I can make a friendship arise between my 54-year-old dad and a stranger of the same age. My dad is a soft-spoken, dreamy man, socially timid, with very little friends - he doesn’t seem to need them. One day I met an unknown man at a schoolyard. Thinking that my dad and this man could possibly be best friends, I did several attempts to find out more about the stranger. When I did, I brought him into contact with my dad. This resulted in an exchange of letters and a one- time encounter, with - perhaps - more to come.
What started as a social experiment, quickly turned into an intimate correspondence with an earnest attempt at getting to know each other. The men explore their possible connections, whilst realising that they are part of a story, a game. The men seem to get closer, but to what extent is writing a letter to a stranger actually writing a letter to yourself? What is the value of a real, physical encounter with a stranger? Is it possible to force a friendship into existence?
In the corresponding video installation First Encounters I use Facebook chats that started o a friendship as scripts. What happens when the digital becomes physical?