One of the most confusing and challenging of tasks leading up to my 10-day stint as Michael Mandiberg was to determine an appropriate method to document the experience. One major consideration was how the documentation might be presented to people after and outside of the project. After much consideration, I decided that video footage would prove the most useful in the long run.

Upon my assumption of Michael, I immediately hit two obstacles: one was the obvious intrusion of a video camera in social spaces. Michael's friends and colleagues already seemed somewhat uncomfortable and 'put upon' in my presence, and the addition of a video camera was only going to serve to heighten the schizm between the 'real' Michael and my somewhat pale impersonation.

The second obstacle was my uncertainty as to how to go about documenting from that point on. A diaristic approach (on video) seemed appropriate, but should I diary pretending to be Michael (and not acknowledge the project), or should I do it as Amy (reflecting on the project)? I chose the former, which was foolish. It felt artificial and cumbersome to try to pretend to be someone of whom I clearly had very little understanding. As is evidenced in my video, I abandoned the diary within three days.

Needless to say, the process was clumsy and confusing at times. However, I made my best effort to respect the experimental nature of the project. To me, the point wasn't to be a perfect imitation of Michael. It was to recognize our boundaries, our limits, and to experience near-total anonymity within a social setting. Because even if Michael's peers didn't buy me as Michael, they still didn't know anything of the 'real' Me.



Preparatory Emails

Curt and Lauren

   Video Clips

Amy and Michael

   Trailer for Video
   Amy's Post-its
   Amy's Photos
   Michael's Guide
   Amy's Revisions
   Michael's Post-its

Haruko and Melanie

   Melanie's Photos

Heather and Sara


Participant info