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Making eye contact

Performing in public to question cultural norms.

Step 1.    Find people you don't know

Step 2.   Make eye contact with them

Coming to Paris, I noticed that people rarely make eye contact on the Métro. In my own hometown of San Diego, California, everyone smiles at each other, people wave from their cars, and people are generally friendly to people they don’t know. When I’m on the Métro and I make eye contact with someone, my gaze feels taboo. I thus chose to play with my perception of the world around me by intentionally making eye contact with as many strangers as possible. I rode the Métro across town and wandered around Gare du Nord. In each place, I took an intentionally reserved posture, standing or seated neutrally with my hands clasped in front of me, and allowed my head to turn and my gaze to wander, seeking the eyes of others. I received some funny looks and glares, but some smiles as well.

Eye contact is curiosity, interest, respect, disrespect, threat, acknowledgement, equality.

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Artist, 02/2017
Parsons Paris