The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers.
Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues.
Launched in 2000 by the San Francisco based artist “someguy”, the journals have reached over 40 countries and every US state. They’ve come to rest in hostels, cafes and law offices; been the subject of treasure hunts, brought to remote mountaintops, abandoned at airports and stolen at gunpoint.
The project has been covered in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Better Homes & Gardens and many others. It is the subject of a book published by Chronicle Books, a feature length documentary by Andrea Kreuzhage, and has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2009, and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in 2010.
Unfortunately, you’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery, then
of getting a hold of a journal. That’s the problem when there are only
1000 of them. Now, you’re best bet is to check out 1001 Journals where you can sign up for a
journal, or launch your own traveling, location, or personal journals.
How It Started
I’ve always been fascinated by what people scrawl on bathroom walls and in public spaces. I had been taking photographs of this writing for years, and wanted to put together a book. It seemed appropriate to encourage readers to become contributors, and join the conversation by writing in the actual book. From there, I decided that a blank book might be more fun… especially one that traveled around, to gather a variety of thoughts and opinions. And then, why not 1000 of them? It’s such an absurd number.
The project officially launched in August of 2000, with the release of the first 100 journals in San Francisco. I gave them to friends, and left them at bars, cafes, and on park benches. Shortly thereafter, people began emailing me, asking if they could participate. So I started sending journals to folks, allowing them to share with friends, or strangers. It’s been a roller coaster ever since.
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
If you ask a kindergarten class how many of them are artists, they’ll all raise their hands. Ask the same question of 6th graders, and maybe one third will respond. Ask high school grads, and few will admit to
it. (explained in Orbiting the Giant Hairball, by Gordon MacKenzie)
What happens to us growing up? We begin to fear criticism, and tend to keep our creativity to ourselves. Many people keep journals, of writing or sketching, but not many share them with people. (when was the last time a friend invited you to read their diary?) You will not be judged here. And you will have company. This is for you. For everyone.