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GALLERY 2014

mobilization

1000+ Coffees

Webpage


Description of campaign/project


"Surely there aren't 1000+ people that I call a true 'friend?'" It may be argued that social media has evolved into an almost anti-social activity. More often, groups of people are found starring into the glow of their mobile phone screens rather than seizing the moment and connecting with the people right in front of them.

Over the space of the next three years, or as long as it takes to complete, I aim to challenge the notion of "social media" and have a one-on-one coffee with every one of my Facebook "friends." I will rekindle relationships with ex-partners, primary and high school friends I haven't thought about for years, random people I met while drunk at parties, old housemates, bandmates, employers, co-workers and people I've met in far-flung locations while traveling the world.

Why did I click that "add friend" button in the first place? Can I tolerate an hour of one-on-one conversation with these people? What life lessons do people that I otherwise could potentially never speak to again have to offer me? How will confronting a colourful cast of characters from the last 20 years of my life effect me nostalgically and emotionally? Can this project change my life for the better and what does it mean to call someone a "friend?"

These are questions I hope to answer over the next three years as I rediscover the relationships, friendships and brief acquaintances documented in the time capsule that is Facebook.


I aim to use my experiences as an English instructor at a "conversation school" in Japan as well as techniques learned while training to become a facilitator at 'the School of Life' running classes on 'How To Have Meaningful Conversations' to effectively communicate with a broad spectrum people from different age groups, cultures and backgrounds. I aim to make a genuine emotional connection and try to understand and learn something new about each individual to further develop my own sense of life, reality and self. I aim to discover that everyone has an incredible story to tell if you dig deep enough.


I believe that social media has reached a point of no return. We are entering an era where disconnecting is becoming more important than ever. While social media connects us to all corners of the globe and creates instant communication with thousands, it it conversely disconnecting us from living in the now and communicating with people on a real, human level. By documenting my experiences of communicating with 1000+ individual people outside of social media, I aim to demonstrate and rediscover the absolute positives and life changing differences real, human interaction can provide to the human experience.


Being only 20 coffees and 2% of the way to completing my project has already taught me that one-on-one, personal connections with people is an invaluable experience. This project has changed my life in many ways, from providing me with two dream job opportunities (both of which I have taken up), to taking me out of my comfort zone dealing with social situations I might otherwise find uncomfortable. It has rekindled friendships with people I haven't seen since primary school and offered me opportunities to connect with and learn from people I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to spend time with had it not have been for this project acting as a catalyst. I have been offered opportunities to go deep-sea diving, had my tarot read and had the opportunity to apologise to people for my wrong doings in the past; all in all bettering myself, developing my character while being mindful of the past, present and future of my relationship with myself and the people in my life.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

There is definitely something powerful going on here. And, as many have said before me, the very simplest ideas are the best. Here, you are exploding a new online convention, 'friending', that we have all adopted with varying levels of unease.

The paradox of hyper-connectedness accompanied by a parallel rise in social alienation has been much discussed by media pundits. Many otherwise brilliant people, such as my activist mentor Kalle Lasn, often decry the loss of authentic relationships and connections to nature as if somehow joining social networks irrevocably removed the possibility of those things.

To wit, an article from Adbusters (there is one like this in every issue, btw)
https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/112/true-slaves-our-devices.html

This project proves that authenticity is not lost in a networked society, it just requires one to do some life hacking, which is essentially what the 1000+ Coffees project is about. And here, the 1000+ loose ties made through Facebook are no longer the stuff of regret, but a source of rich potential. Because anyways, who ever actively maintained 'authentic' relationships with more than a dozen people before social networks?

Since Memefest is about social change including but going beyond personal improvement, I would like to probe further on this. From your own analysis, it is clear what benefits this subversion and exploration of 'friending' has brought to your personal life. Now, a few questions on what this might mean for others, who might not all have time for '1000 coffees'.

-Is there a condensed practice of your 1000 Coffees that you would recommend for the average person who has a Facebook account?
-Are there ways that you can see your learnings being applied by online social movements?

View other works commented by Tom Liacas  ››

Other comments

mattkulesza
4 years, 11 months ago

Hey Tom, thanks for the feedback and kind words.

In response to your questions...

Firstly, 1000+ Coffees is about stepping outside of your comfort zone, reconnecting with people outside of your usual social sphere or people that you've "liked" more statuses than had real life conversations with. It's about reminding yourself of why you decided to accept or click that "Add Friend" button in the first place. This project has changed my life in a multitude of ways, from providing me employment, taking me to New York City and providing me a huge array of new life experiences thanks to the wonderful people I've reconnected with. As far as a condensed practice to recommend to the average person, taking the time out of your day to participate in your own 1+ or 10+ coffees with anyone you've been meaning to get in touch with is all I could recommend. Facebook is there for a reason, use it!

As far as ways that I can see my learnings being applied by online social movements, sure, but that's my next project that I'm still nutting out the finer details on. :-)

Curators comments

This work has been commented by 1 curator(s):
Tom Liacas go to comments ›

Entry details

Title

1000+ Coffees


Headline

Putting the "social" back in social media


Concept author(s)

Matt Kulesza


Concept author year(s) of birth

1986


Concept author(s) contribution

Concept, writer, documenter, interviewer


Country

Australia


Competition category

mobilization


Competition field

nonacademic


Competition subfield

artist


Subfield description

I am currently undertaking a social / humanist / communicative project in which I aim to document the experiences of having a one-on-one coffee with every one of my 1000+ "friends" on Facebook that I have accumulated through travel, work, school, love and life over the last seven years.