Monday, May 26, 2008

people people

This is still a draft. I want to do some more revising but this this is my product so far.

This documentation style might appear to be a creative response to the inspiration of minimalism but it was shaped more by the absence of tools usually considered necessary in the art of documentation. I completely lack items such as a digital camera, a video recorder, and an audio recorder which are extremely helpful in not only the presentation of the subject, but also have an excellent way to document the subject in numerous detail. My only tools were a notebook and a mechanical pencil. With these limitations I decided that an interesting documentation of someone would not be the traditional monologue of their thoughts supplemented with pictures of their life but more of a list of dialogue excerpts from their interactions with other people. To add even further ambiguity, I only documented the subjects’ words and not the words of the person(s) of which they were conversing. My slow, messy handwriting results in the finishing touch with a limitation to only being able to record portions of conversations.

This is a documentation of Beka and Isaac. Beka owns the flower store Origin Flowers on NE Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon. Her son Isaac, who is only a teenager, manages the toy portion of the store. When I initially walked into the store, I saw everything except toys and flowers. I saw lemongrass incense sticks, hand lotion, candles that spell out “I love you”, stainless steel rings, corn cob holders that are designed as dogs, rainbow knee socks, and a guidebook to the best happy hours in Portland, to name a few items. To the left wall lies the collection of toys (which Isaac himself picks out). To the back of the store, almost hidden away, were all sorts of flowers.

I observed Beka and Isaac inside Origin Flowers during the 9th annual Art Hop on Alberta Street, which was filled with pottery, paintings, dogs, fairies, stilt walkers, 90-degree weather, and men in drag.



“That’s what I’m working on.”

“I don’t know.”

“Uh … I’ll take one.”

“Well, they could be two and a half cent deposit.”


“I mean, it’s broken, but I put it together again.”

“It belongs somewhere?”

“I was going to go upstairs and organize the top.”

“Do we have any glue so I can glue the bottom of the chair that keeps falling apart again?”

“I didn’t set it up to bowl.”

“She said we can have these.”

“Uh, they’d have to be upstairs.”

“Yip! Yip!”

“I was right.”

“January seventh.”

“Will you.”

“Uh, it’s a please give one.”

“Beagles do that as well.”

“We have more upstairs, I’m sure.”

“Oh, my mother’s going to kill you.”

“Look, mom.”


“They suck.”

“No, it would cost a lot more.”

“It’s not laminated though.”

“We have negative one minute.”

“You hurt.”

“They’re going to have to move the barriers.”


“I trust your taste.”


“Take the broken ones and just toss ‘em.”

“I’ll be right back Bubba. Pay attention.”

“It’s a good day.”

“Can you go to the cardboard recycle with that?”

“We’re getting really low on pink bags, finally.”

“What are you after?”

“I hear it but I don’t see it.”

“Give me five minutes.”


“Do the little cans take a five sent deposit as well?”

“Hi y’all.”

“The parade’s at two-thirty.”

“You still owe him about forty dollars for shrimp on the barbeque last year.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Beka.”

“Just think what it looked like right after mother’s day.”

“Fourteen in July.”

“Please step back from that.”

“When they’re not kids they’re angels. That’s why we have two different words.”

“That’s a dangerous spot.”

“I had a bunch of kids call me over spring break.”

“Thanks for thinking of me as an all powerful being. By the way, you’re the only one.”

“Have a good day.”

“Whatever makes sense to you is good.”

“Fast and mighty.”

“Will you put it back together though?”

“Most people start at the top of the block and work their way down. That’s my theory.”

“This would have been fairy wing sale central day.”

“I’m not sure if the bowling setup is gonna work, Bubba.”

“We went trick-o-treating together.”

“So you’re out and about this week too?”

“I used to go to the place he cooked food at; the restaurant downtown.”

“Yes, we’re owners together.”

“I guess twenty-two is not a huge amount.”

“Once it blooms it won’t bloom again.”

“And do you want to carry it like a pet or do you want a bag?”

“Okay, that’s pretty damn close.”

“I like to see desire.”

“I love to see the plants all in display.”

“Yea, club moss?”

“Oh my god, then wait until you date.”

“My dad used to say, ‘honey, that’s the style in Paris,’ and I said, ‘we live in Reno. Don’t lie to me.’”

“Those Webkinz, but I think they stop around ten or eleven.

“We’re the cool side of the street. We expect to see everyone two or three times today.”

“Do you want a bag or do you want to walk around like you’re a commercial?”

“Oh my god, you are already her!”

“Don’t keep it a secret where you got those.”

“Alright. Webkinz. She took a husky. That’s again gender type.”

“They’re a dollar-fifty a stem.”

“Of the white ones?”

“It’s a fun little website.”

“It’s a cute stuffed animal.”

“Yea, we get really busy as soon as it gets hot. We’re on the shady side.”

“I could never convince anyone to buy them but we have a good selection for anyone who wants some.”

“I just sold a brown pony which means we’re out of the brown pony.”

“And I have to get the dragon.”

“I was about to say, ‘Hey, did you see those stripy socks?’ but I see we’ve come full circle.”

“And all the sterling and stainless are twenty percent off.”

“Um, that one, and then, this size here.”

“Do you want me to wrap it?”

“Did you find the birthday ones? They’re kind of midway back on the left hand side.”

“She’s local. It’s a great card.”

“I never took the origami class that would make the wrapped up look like poetry.”

“Well, that’s what makes us Portland.”

“All my ones are in here.”

“Yeah, there’s more in the window. Just go to the squirrels and turn left.”

“Alright, so eight eighty-five all together.”

“But even when the power goes out, you can buy something here.”

“There’s Cat-a-pults and Nun-chucks.”

“How are you guys?”

“Instead of starting at fifteenth it starts at twelve. It’s not a big difference.”

“’Cause you know what, because they are.”

“You know why you like them, it’s because you are a nerd.”

“He is the buyer.”

“Most people enjoy being a nerd. It means money when you’re older.”

“Like four big.”


“Make him make more?”

“It’ll be so much easier to sell than now.”

“Do you know how to get out?”

“’Cause sometimes siblings are not so good at giving the secrets out.”

“Are you working hard?”

“Yea, there’s little ‘kinz. The little ‘kinz are nine-fifty.”

“I have a Chihuahua also.”

“That’s not talking, necessarily.”


“Oh, okay.”

“Stick it right on anything.”

“So it’s on sale through May.”

“The raccoon, the koala, and the husky are super soft.”

“You guys are early for the parade.”

“Those are five.”

“Are you going somewhere?”

“Where’d Jennifer go?”

“You know what, you’re never going to get me to like Chihuahuas.”

“Origin Flowers, this is Beka.”

“Safe and sane.”

“You can recycle the paper part.”

“You going to take your walk around now?”

“It’s usually over in the corner there.”

“Don’t toss that at me.”

“That would be the cut in half and recycle Farmer’s Insurance.”

“Don’t they know I have a phone already.”

“We’re trying to be fun at Art Hop. Woo-hoo!”

“No, I don’t need that.”

“It is prom at Sunset High School.”

“That is a solicitation for donation.”

“Does it say thank you or will you?”

“Oh no, they never buy anything. They only ask.”

“And when it gets older it bites people.”

“All of them are terrible.”

“That one’s softer. But that’s all I know.”

“And if you loose that it’s game over.”

“You wake up wrong.”

“Do you know what his gamer tag is?”

“It’s like where it’s so sinister it goes back around.”

“I found something for you to take a picture of.”

“But you know me, I’m bubblely.”

“We are cool.”

“Once you’re not actually in the place.”

“It’s a set of two or three of them. I think three.”

“Aren’t those great?”

“You can never guess.”

“We bought them because they’re cute.”

“Eventually most of these ideas that you have are going to end up in my home.”

“Uh, I was going to keep that.”

“All the stainless and silver are twenty percent off today.”

“There are ten dollar necklaces on the necklace wall.”

“Did you take pictures of the white guys? White guys in space?”

“Father’s Day’s coming up.”

“Holler out, you guys, if you have any questions.”

“Oh, well no. Not like that, I don’t think.”

“Put that one on top of the keyboard so I can find it.”

“Okay, I’m wearing it. Do you want to ask me to dance?”

“And since I was thirty-five for several years …”

“God, I’m overcome with swimming love for you. For you!”

“Don’t mind us, we’re spending all day together.”

“Did you come to take pictures of the parade?”

“Remember the very front wall is a totally different color of red.”

“We have a lot of birds.”

“Ugh, yuck.”

“Yeah, we’re lucky that way.”

“Did you have to manipulate that?”

“Every day before we come to work my son explains to me the idea of retail.”

“That is the Cocker Spaniel.”

“That sounds like a question I might be able to answer.”

“Are you going to be in the parade with it?”

“I really want to see that one with the orange.”

“We’re here ‘till six.”

“Almost to parade time.”

“I was going to say, ‘we don’t have that color.’”

“Where’d these come from, Bo?”

“Bubba, do we need more wooden cobras?”

“As long as we understand each other, I feel better.”

“Thank you very much.”

“He doesn’t want me anywhere near his girlfriend’s wrist.”

“We’re on the shady side of the street.”

“So don’t worry, it’s cute out there.”

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A person person!

I met an interesting person to document today, possibly two. I already forgot her name (I am horrible with names ... I think her name starts with an S and has an R in it somewhere) but she's the owner of Origin Flowers on NE 15 and Alberta. She moved her business to the neighborhood from the Reed College area about five years ago. It was originally just a flower shop but soon started selling other items to give the store a little more variety, such as jewelry, cards, and some pottery. The other half of the store is a toy store which is actually managed by her 14-year-old son. This initially came about when he asked the question a few years ago, "when am I ever going to use these [math] skills in real life?" I didn't get the full scoop on it but he decides what to buy and in what quantity, etc. He does work there some days out of the week doing mostly accounting. This was very interesting to me and I think he would make a good documentee. I'm planning to meet with the owner this Wednesday after class. I'm still running over some documenting ideas which I will present when I've decided that they will be fun.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oops. Try again.

I traveled to the neighborhood of NE 15 & Alberta yesterday. Unfortunately, it was not very productive. My friend and I meet at the Farmer's Market at PSU for a nice bike ride and I thought it would be cool to go to Alberta street. A slight hangover, me being out of shape, and having a lack of water resulted in me arriving to the neighborhood fairly dehydrated and wanting nothing but to drink water and lie in the grass of the vacant lot, which I did. After recovering, instead of checking out the neighborhood my friend suggested that we jam at his house, which sounded more fun that harassing people. Oh well. I was able to use his camera and take photographs.


More Beer.


My friend (Mitch).


Tuesday, April 1, 2008