Unusual Visual Journal Projects

By Gillian Valladares Castellino

Sometimes it is fun to be part of a larger project – to enjoy the element of surprise and the variety that results when several different people with widely different interests and orientations collaborate on a project, each leaving a stamp of their own creativity. There are several on-line projects aimed at this type of collaboration. Each is different and each is an interesting little ‘treat’ in it’s own way.

Perhaps the best known collaborative journal experiment is the ‘The 1000 Journals Project’ started by: SomeguyThe 1000 Journals Project3907 23rd StreetSan Francisco, CA 94114 someguy@1000journals.com

It is an ongoing attempt to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels with the goal of providing a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers. The person who started it, officially launched the venture in August 2000, with the release of the first 100 journals in San Francisco to friends, by leaving the blank journals in bars, cafes, and on park benches. Shortly after doing this, people began emailing him, asking if they could participate. So he started sending journals to whoever requested them, allowing them to share with friends, or strangers, adding a story or a drawing or photograph or “anything” before they passed it on. The idea took off in such a big way, that it is almost impossible to get hold of a journal to add to it. The project also became the subject of a book and a movie called ‘The Documentary’, which had sold out screenings at the AFI Fest and the Berlinale, the film has been invited to many more film festivals.

Someguy himself, has officially ‘closed’ entry into the project and now requests anyone who would like to contribute to check out 1001 Journals where you can sign up for a journal, or launch your own traveling, location, or personal journals. This site too has an amazing list of interesting journals, a short and sweet list of ideas to get you started on your own journals and resource listings to get the creative juices flowing.

For live journals on-line, check out Live Journal Sketchbooks for ideas and inspiration and to join if you feel the urge.

Then there is Missing Presumed Found which is similar to the 1000 journals project, but is a collection of Little Black Sketch Books travelling the world. Making friends, making enemies and having adventures, passing between complete strangers. The main aim of mpf is to provide a forum for discussion, ideas and opinions through all creative means.

Then there are collaborative ventures for specific purposes like ‘Typophiles for Peace’. When the War on Terror was in its early stages in 2003, the Typophile community responded by creating a digital quilt to express their viewpoints. Participants were encouraged to submit a 100 x 100 tile and a link to a site of their choice.If you'd like to add tiles to this growing work, submit them as Comments [requires login] and the site administrators will harvest them into the quilt progressively.

Another ‘political’ diary is the Baghdad Diaries . Here is the summary of what they are about – lifted in verbatim off the website “Inspired by the 1000 Journals Project, and journalers like Dan Eldon, Tracy Moore and Sabrina Harrison, The Baghdad Diaries is a reaction to many of the events that have occurred during the past 69 months as the war in Iraq and "War on Terror" have become a daily part of our lives.
Administered by a Concerned Citizen, the goal of this collaborative journal project is to return the dialog about these events to a public forum where it belongs. During the past 69 months, our conversation about these events has been structured primarily by two groups, the government and the media, and each has offered us little more then a series of polarized truths. Each hand-bound diary represents a life; each represents a member of the military who has died in Iraq, and each diary carries a dedication to that individual. Let's use the diaries as a tool to engage in a conversation at the personal level where it is unstructured by the government and unfiltered by the media.
Why a series of diaries? A diary conveys a certain sense of intimacy where we can offer an honest introspective dialogs and confess our hopes and doubts. As each diary passes from person to person, perhaps we'll find we have common hopes and doubts regardless of where we stand. How will this personal conversation affect each of us? Who knows? It may comfort some of us; it may alienate some of us and it may disillusion some of us. It may help some of us acknowledge the way our world has changed and come to terms with those changes. After all, this is a conversation about the world and our place in it. What do you have to say?”

On a lighter note, there is Zettiology the diaries of Tracy V Moore – her journals contain metal, leather, animations and other startling little bits and pieces.

Then there is the ‘Mirror Project’ started by a community of like-minded individuals who have photographed themselves in all manner of reflective surfaces.

There is the ‘Parabolic journal’ and the Wandering Moleskin Project which unfortunately take a long time to load. Hope you enjoy browsing through these sites – I did.

By the way, the two unrelated paintings of mine at the top are just to add some visual interest - they are acrylics on canvas - an abstract and a montage. Hope you like them. Until next time then...


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