“If you give ten kids a camera and ask them to take a picture of the same subject, you’ll get ten wildly different photos. If you do the same with adults, you’ll get ten of the same thing.” –middle school photography teacher, 1991
Sixteen years ago, in 2002, inspired by projects like the 1000journals project (1,000 blank journals are sent out into the world for strangers to fill), I had an idea. I would send a mannequin head, which I had recently rescued from a thrift store, around the world, from person to person, and give each participant two weeks to do something creative with it. What they did was entirely up to them as long as they documented it with photos and/or video. At the end of two weeks, the head would be mailed to the next person on the list. It would be an ongoing, worldwide, collaborative art project; a traveling head project.
I read a book on HTML, built a basic website, and put the word out on LiveJournal, one of the web’s most popular early blogging sites. Within a week, hundreds of people from all over the world were interested in participating; artists and non-artists alike.
The first head was shipped to Chicago on April 27, 2003.
Over the next five years I added four more heads which traveled the world, from San Francisco to Sydney. In the end, over forty people, from nine countries, participated, contributing more than 1,500 photos; beautiful, silly, thought-provoking, creepy, intelligent, intriguing, odd, touristy, photos.
Yet, despite that success, the project never felt finished. I had a bigger vision and for the last six months I've been working hard to make that vision a reality.
Welcome to The Head Project. It's a lot like the old project, just better.
“Okay, so how is it better?”
Everything about this project is the culmination of more than a decade of daydreaming and problem-solving. We'll have more heads, a beautiful website to feature the work of contributors from around the world and keep up on all things head-related, and the ability to track the heads as they go.
“How does head tracking work?”
Using the built-in geolocation function in most smartphones and mobile devices, as well as unique, dynamic QR codes (barcode), participants can update the heads location simply by scanning the QR code label on the head with their device. Those locations are then shared to our website.
"Aren't there privacy concerns?"
One of the stipulations to using Geolocation API is that participants are required to give their permission before any location data is collected. This is necessary because of security and privacy considerations of the Geolocation API described by the W3C here. Every browser which implements the Geolocation API must follow this rule.
We provide a very clear disclaimer both on our website as well as immediately after scanning one of our GPS-enabled QR codes. Participants are not required to submit their locations to participate and can request to have that information deleted if they change their mind.
"I still don’t get it. So, you just send a mannequin head to people?"
Well, sort of. It is up to each participant to decide what to do with the head, where it goes next, and how it gets there. All that we ask is that it's documented it in some way and shared on social media #theheadproject
“What are we supposed to do with it?"
Anything you want. Take a selfie with it. Introduce it to friends and neighbors. Take it on an adventure. Use it in a photo. Draw a picture of it. Strap it to a balloon and launch it into space (no seriously, that would be awesome) - just be creative.
What do you need Kickstarter for?
We're ready to launch. We just need more heads.
Some of the heads will go to artists, friends, and strangers around the world; the rest will be made available to you, the backers!
Limited quantities available. RESERVE YOURS TODAY. Tracking included.
Risks and challenges
I don't expect any delays in delivering rewards in a timely manner.
Everything is ready. We just need more heads.
- (30 days)