I'm Not Really Me, and That's Just Fine
An attempt to record every human being I remember ever having known, encountered, and/or acknowledged: Billions of lives. We conceptualize this abstractly, but what does it really mean, generally, to altering, broadening, or enriching one's own existence, and thereby that of one's broader society? Until numbers are given flesh, empathy writ large will remain elusive. Since 2014 I've been working on this series, in which I shall attempt to make a "portrait" of every person I've met, seen, known, or encountered in life, starting from my first memory to (presuming my hand maintains it's utility through old age) my return to the earth. Each person is numbered with a corresponding annotation-memory. Perhaps this is an untenable fool's errand, but I'm a fool for fool's errands. More importantly, through the process' reliance on continual dips into recent and deep memory, physicality of drawing/writing, and greater attention to the everyday, ambient "people-sphere", I crystallize my belief that my own life is not really "my own life"; I am an aggregate of the wishes, dreams, successes, and setbacks of the tens of thousands of people that lie in my head. They have cried for pain & embraced for love, as I have. They wear flimsy coats in the rain and sweat the doctor's prognosis, as I do. To me there is no "7+ billion" and growing: there is simply one. Billions as one, honestly. Until my lights go out, I will hopefully stay clear-eyed. The billions are me, and I am them. I will try to be a good steward of our single life.