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Familiar Stranger

january 13 - 26, 2014
Familiar Stranger

Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren has been wearing a striped T-shirt everyday since 2001 and started asking people to curate his daily garment, choosing from a collection that currently numbers more than one thousand.


Amy and I decided not to choose from the archive, but gave Jacob a white T-shirt and a bunch of colored Sharpies, along with the following set of rules:

  1. Each day ask a 'stranger' to draw a stripe on your shirt.
  2. Color: Stranger can choose their color.
  3. Orientation: The stripe should go around your whole body 360°.
  4. Method: Either spin while ”stranger” draws or create a method from the situation.
  5. Duration: Continue for 14 days or until you feel you have enough stripes.
  6. Options: If someone is very excited, they could do more than one stripe or several of the same color.

”Familiar stranger” is a social phenomena coined by Stanley Milgram in regards to people we regularly encounter, but do not interact with. We have relationships with familiar strangers in a mutual agreement to ignore each other without intentions of hostility. I see you most days when I walk my dog. If you fail to appear, I notice.