What is she doing there? That’s what many Echo Park residents have been asking as they pass by the tiny traffic circle at Lake Shore Avenue and Effie Street, where artist and writer Stacy Dacheux has been pecking away on a portable typewriter while seated near a clump of rosemary. Dacheux, on her blog, explains that she will spend her November mornings writing up status updates about her life and then mail them off the notes on postcards instead of posting them on social media. It’s part of her exploration of rituals:
Previously, before November– before even getting out of bed, I would immediately check my social media– specifically, Facebook. I would want to see what the world was up to. Inevitably, I would instantly get sucked into these other voices, routines, and thoughts– a scrolling newsreel from my past: a friend in Alabama taking her kids to school, a colleague in Florida grading papers, an LA acquaintance sharing her new comedy video.
My past was overwhelming my present state of mind.
The past was in my head before the present had time to happen.
The electronic ritual of keeping up with my past was disrupting my current life: new thoughts and experiences.
I wanted to replace my electronic social ritual with a more tactile one. I wanted to slow it down and engage with my actual neighbors. I wanted to be more present in my own neighborhood/community, and I wanted to document this new tactile social ritual in a way that would allow me to reflect and analyze my findings.
So, now, here I am.
Dacheux’s project on rituals has also introduced her to neighbors, such as James Schneeweiss, who snapped the photo above and described his encounter on Sunday morning:
I asked her why she was there. She said she was updating her status for the day and then she would go home and input it. She says that it has been a nice way to meet her neighbors. As I was talking to her, some guy in a car drove past and yelled out – “Hooray for art!” Just a moment in Echo Park.