Susan Meyerhoff Sharples wants to be your friend....
Susan Meyerhoff Sharples wants to be your friend.

Social networking sites encourage and accommodate a thirst for friendship, a yearning to prove your popularity often resulting in an enormous list of shallow relationships. Is it the mystery of the unknown that entices people to become part of this mass community? Is it the possibility of becoming someone else, a new identity, an alter ego, a chance to pretend or a place to hide?

Predominately a sculptor, recent work concerned with ethnology has taken my practice into the realms of socially interactive pieces. During the past year I have worked in Austria, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Germany, Estonia and Belgium towards my Cultural Crossings series, part of which involved building a collection of international photographic portraits that act as mementos of social connections, friendship.

For my piece FRIEND REQUEST I wore a badge showing my portrait and a text requesting them to become my friend.

As I walked about London at selected busy areas, any stranger who enquired about the badge I explained my line of enquiry and gave the option of participating by taking a sticker containing my portrait or of people from my collection, my friends. In return they must give me permission to take their photograph to add to my collection of friends.

The outcome proved that out of more than twenty participants, all but one person chose a sticker containing my portrait. Their reason being that they had met me, rather than a complete stranger.

Friend Request took place at:
28-31 Oct 2010 London– Camden Lock, Brick Lane, Westminster, Spitalfields.