Research: Talking to Strangers
As a waspy northeastern person trained in fast-paced and somewhat transactional city culture, when I moved to Portland I was intrigued that people would linger over small talk with passersby and with cashiers at the grocery store. I decided I needed to research talking to strangers. I created the Embassy of California and learned some important principles about approaching random strangers on the street.
My most important lessons were: Approach people where they are already relaxed and social, and: Have interesting props. To this end I created a game, Embassy of Otherwhere, which was deployed at the Multnomah County Central Library and KSMoCA, Portland, in November 2017. The game was also included in Lauren Moran’s book, Scores for a Block Party.