Thursday, February 14, 2008

"365" Projects

"365" projects, in which someone commits to doing or creating something every day for a year, are becoming more common with the rise of Blogdom. The most common, a daily photo self-portrait, usually turns out poorly unless the viewer can cultivate a crush on the author. That's a lot of pictures of anybody. There is the possibility of surprise: If I was running one last year I would have impressed from the moment I was hit by a car.

The best ones involve creating something, and not blog entries or photographs. You have to put that "Holiday in Cambodia" feeling behind you to thoroughly enjoy Skull-a-Day, which is maintaining the creative juice, though one suspects the artist may be starting to hallucinate. The street sign skull, a recent one, is the creepiest and one of the most startling.

Keltie's 365 Masks goes well with the skulls but has just gotten underway, leaving a lot of skulls out of luck for the ball. Most of the work is variations on the masquerade mask. I'm waiting for big witch doctor masks to go into production. The accompanying text shares details of technique, revealing that fine artistry can be wrought with "joke" supplies like tape and tin foil. Unlike narcissistic pic-of-me-today efforts, Keltie's 365 Masks is a warm site, where we can share her sincere reports of efforts that worked or fell short. The reader is along for the learning trajectory, alternately bumpy and triumphant. It's wonderfully human.

This 365 stuffed animal project, which concluded several years ago, presents a nice view of the highlights in one page. My favorite is the serving of string beans making their way across the rocking chair. This project shows the importance of planning the web archival of your project when it concludes. Successful projects should be placed online for all to see, accompanied by a statement of, "I did this!" Think of all the unexpected stuff that comes up in a year, and the awkwardness of explaining to a stricken loved one that you simply have to make a pair of snowshoes every day, regardless of their transplant.

This audio 365 project involved, well, a bunch of freakin' kooks posting various oddities of recorded sound and music, many of them unnerving to those of us who swore rock'n'roll will never die. This is a good place to get sound bites for weirding people out and sowing confusion. What's more, they've done it twice now.

For those who really want a peak at a 365 day self-portrait-a-thon, this one is representative. Beware, her cleavage has eyes. Caught you looking!

Top Left: This mask by Keltie has a wonderful nocturnal beauty. Top Right: A sinister skull. Images copyright Keltie of 365 Masks and Skull of Skull-a-Day respectively.