Oliver Herring is a Brooklyn-based artist who works relatively traditionally, in photography, sculpture, and video. But since 2002, he also has had something on the side: something called Task.
Task is an event involving volunteers who come together in a public place for an entire day and give each other tasks to do for the whole time they're there. While it's happening a mini-society forms. All Herring does is choose the volunteers, start things off, and then observe. This happened in Seattle June 28; my on-the-scene reporting on the first part of it is here; a longer essay considering it is running in next week's paper.
In this interview, conducted on the eve of the event in Seattle, Herring talks about why Task is actually not on the side of his studio work, but instead at the heart of it. He talks about the outbreak of Task "parties" around the country. He talks about his year of saying yes to everything.
And here are two images from Seattle's Task (photographs by Duncan Scovil):
These are the bleachers that lead down from the Fifth Avenue level to the auditorium. Remember 83-year-old Bob from my earlier writing? That's him up and moving around while a young woman naps.