This very second, someone, somewhere, is busy jotting something down on a Post-it® note. A phone number, a grocery list, a reminder. And there is someone who has just finished dialing, just finished buying, just been reminded; and is now tossing the pastel-colored square on the ground.
These days, the way we communicate is changing. More and more of what we write is digital and is getting shorter and shorter. Email, text messages, and Twitter posts, exemplify this trend of communication "bursts". In the case of social media, they are indirect, targeted not to a single recipient but a wide group of friends. Intriguingly, Post-it® notes at once mirror and contrast this trajectory of increasingly fragmenated communication, particularly as found objects. For me, these discarded notes are a special kind of trash.
Though oftentimes the writer and recipient are one and the same, Post-its® are similairly brief, containing little more than a few words, a phrase, or a few sentence fragments. Yet while they parallel the brevity and loose grammatical style of these types of digital messaging, there also lies a stark contrast: the former are handwritten while the latter are typed. It is in the handwriting these notes contain, that--unique and expressive--we find a beauty that is lost in that which is typed.
These notes comment on contemporary life in other ways, as well. They speak to a heightened pace, which leaves many feeling so pressed for time that we turn to lists and notes to help us make the most of it, to be efficient and organized. And when collected from the street they speak to the ease with which we pollute, one of the many (arguable) consequences of consumerism.
I call them AnthroPosts: documents, urban artifacts, that hold something interesting for those willing to look. Not only do they document a moment in the life of a stranger but they hold something of the stranger himself: the way they write, how they capture ideas. And collectively they document my own life, all the places and times I've looked down and found a pastel square looking back at me.
I know many might not see them quite like I do, inadvertent messages in a bottle, but that's okay. If some find an appreciation in the curves of an "S", the vertical symmetry of an "E", or the self-similarity of an "A", I'll keep collecting, and sharing what I find here, for those willing to look.
Noah Pedrini is a digital artist interested in exploring the changing face of community in contemporary society. His projects have been used in course materials for schools including the Maryland Institute of Art and UNC Chapel Hill.
His 2005 project "DrugQuilt", a visualization of brand-name drugs registered with the FDA, subtly questions the consequences of over-medication on society by presenting the data in the form of a quilt.
When he manages to pull himself away from the computer screen, he writes fiction, makes art out of found objects, and plays blues guitar. He currently lives and works in New York City.