Joy and Marcelo

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Think about this comparison: I made a painting--I made a friend. Not so different.

Marianne and I are best friends and it makes no sense. We’ve always been incredibly different -- I’m a purple-haired, sullen giant, Marianne’s a little, cheery Guatemalan girl -- we always laugh at how silly we must look walking around together all the time. The differences aren’t just superficial either; I’m incredibly introverted and have suffered from bad social anxiety for as long as I can remember, neurotic and high strung; Marianne’s constantly out socializing to the point of wearing herself thin, forgetting about herself. I spend hours and hours every day on the internet, earlier this year found a life-changing friend through Youtube. Marianne’s mistrustful of the internet, believing the real world connections she frequently makes to be as fundamental as food, water, air.

But recently we’ve both become fed up with the ruts and routines that dictate both of our lives, the spaces that limit our freedoms, the spaces that we limit ourselves to, so we decided to throw it all out the window and switch approaches to life for a day. I would spend 12 hours outside my room in the real world, Marianne would spend 12 hours on the internet -- we’d both make a friend. Freedom from our fears, therapy as art.

I traveled to Boston, naively expecting to suddenly be rid of my life-long phobia of approaching new people, but it wasn’t too much of a surprise to find myself unable to accomplish the task of finding a friend. I wandered around town for hours, tongue-tied, terrified, and suddenly found myself face to face with the site of the Boston marathon bombings (the candy store mass replicated through photos in the media); the air felt heavy and weird. I simply couldn’t do it. I gave up, texting Marianne to grant permission for me to go home, to rethink the project entirely. She asked me to wait until she got out of work so she could call. I sat down on a park bench in defeat, and that very instant a girl walked over and sat down next to me. She was reading a book about Buddhism. She later told me she had meditated that day to find someone she could relate to; we found each other invisibly. I made a friend, her name is Joy, and that’s all I can tell you.

That night, Marianne attempted to overcome her fear of people on the internet. She began by creating a profile on OkCupid and playing Chatroulette. Soon she found that it wasn’t that easy to find someone to have an actual conversation with. Talking to people on OkCupid seemed dishonest to her because they clearly had different objectives and she didn’t want to lead anyone on. So she continued to play Chatroulette, clicking next almost instantly each time someone new appeared on the screen, click, click, click. After a while, Marianne stopped on a boy from Mexico; the invisible thread of common culture had stilled her hand. They talked for a while on Chatroulette and then for hours on Skype. She saw some part of her younger self in him, a time-capsule of a boy. Marianne made a friend, his name is Marcelo, and that's all she can tell you.

This thing we made is too precious to describe, too precious to call art; this thing we made we is only ours to know.

As the physical output of this project, we wanted to return and multiply what we manifested during this process, so we made a short, simple Youtube video that we posted on Craigslist extending our friendship and contact info to anyone who, in a similar manner to us, might be looking. The simple act of seeking in any medium -- digital or physical -- is beautifully, amazingly enough.

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