Hello Stranger

Workshop with Kio Stark.


  • Approach a stranger.
  • Ask if they will help you with a project and answer a question on camera.
  • Ask them what they are afraid of.
  • [interact]


(Of course the most intimate and revealing was off-camera.)

What are you afraid of? #1 from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Collated results from all of the stranger-finders


  • City as potential interactions and potential for interactions.
  • Rules are unwritten …but can be bent.
  • Interactions with strangers as a mechanism for connecting to place.
  • Strangers are good for your brain. New people; new ideas.
  • The importance of interesting things (points for conversation) happening in public places.
  • The importance of providing spaces for strangers to interact.
  • How the rules are relaxed in transitional spaces (train stations, elevators etc).
  • The unexpected works!
  • The value of conversation.
  • The value of making interactions where there was none before.


  • How does it change things if we go about the city knowing we are somebody else’s stranger-in-waiting?
  • Can we lower the barrier to interesting interactions?
  • What would a signalling system look like to enable others to see if we were open to new encounters or not. (update 03/10/2011: This question’s been bugging me as being too obvious, so I’d like to use it as a starting point Signtific style to get somewhere else.)
  • Thinking there’s an empathy barrier analogous to an enthalpy barrier. What novel catalysts can we provide to lower the barrier?

The relationship between activation energy (Ea) and enthalpy of formation (ΔH) with and without a catalyst, plotted against the reaction coordinate. The highest energy position (peak position) represents the transition state. With the catalyst, the energy required to enter transition state decreases, thereby decreasing the energy required to initiate the reaction


After the workshop I stopped to help a man measure a bit of sidewalk that was longer than his tape measure.