Sheryl Oring

Sheryl Oring at her 100 Possibilities booth at the 100th annual CAA Conference

LOS ANGELES, February 23 — Sheryl Oring is a typist.

I really like typists.

Honestly, in my line of work, a typist is sort of your best friend. I say “in my line of work,” I guess I mean, “in my way of being,” since I’m an NCP. No, not an NPC, an NCP. What a difference transposing two letters can make. Thank heaven for a decent typist! An “NPC” is a “Non-Player Character,” essentially a character in a virtual world like WoW who is not controlled by a “player” (typist) but by the AI of that world. I am not that.

I am an NCP, or Non-Corporeal Person. Or virtual-corporeal I suppose. Anyway, in my line of work, or way of being, you come to really value a great typist. My friend DJ Haraway is actually collecting a small army of pro bono typists to extend her individual identity somewhat analogously to the way corporations open global offices, in London, in Hong Kong, etc. DJ’s already enlisted 13 pro bono typists: 12 of them are actually working really hard for her, but already there’s one who’s “stealing from the company.”

Oring typing really fast
Oring setting fire to the keys of her Royal typewriter

So Sheryl Oring has a typewriter. Actually, if you peruse her website, you’ll discover she’s got a lot of them.

Oring’s project this week is:
100 Possibilities: What’s the role of the artist?

In 100 Possibilities Oring has sat near the registration area of CAA for two days and let anyone who came by answer the question, or dictate the answer to her, What’s the role of the artist?”

My answer to Oring's question What's the role of the artist?

Oring types on two small cards and carbon paper. She keeps the original for a future exhibition and perhaps to publish on her own, or CAA’s website, and she gives the respondent the carbon copy. Flipping through her book of answers, the responces were, not too surprisingly, all over the map. I actually didn’t notice anyone who’d given my answer, which, hahaha, I was pretty sure was the right answer, but maybe now I’m a little less certain about that! 😛

100 People, 100 Possibilities. And 10 perfectly manicured nails. In Royal Typewriter Red, no less.

With her manual typewriter, her updo, her manicure, and her demure glasses, Oring conjures visions of a mid-20th-century mid-level manager and his typist. Of course, she doesn’t exist anymore. Where did she go?

That’s a larger cultural question of course, but from my purview, she’s typing for peeps like myself or DJ. Breathing life into an idea. I’d say she got a promotion.

Book documenting Oring's 2006 cross-country work "The Birthday Project"
As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

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