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Home » Are You Really My Friend?: Tanja Hollander (Transcript)

Are You Really My Friend?: Tanja Hollander (Transcript)

Tanja Hollander at TEDxDirigo

Full text of artist Tanja Hollander’s talk: Are You Really My Friend? at TEDxDirigo conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


This is an awesome post-it-note that somebody’s grammy left for me at the Portland museum.

In 2010 New Year’s Eve, I spent a lot of time thinking about Facebook and friendship. I was on Facebook instant messaging to a really good friend who was working on a film in Jakarta.

At the same time, I was handwriting a letter in pencil to a friend who was deployed in Afghanistan.

And I started thinking about those two friendships and how they were from really different parts of my life, but those two people were really important to me.

So I started scrolling through my list of friends on Facebook, and realized they were all over the world and from really different parts of my life. And I was also thinking about how crazy it was, I was home alone on New Year’s Eve on Facebook.

On the other hand, how awesome it was that I was talking to my friend Sandeep. I was also thinking a lot about the history of photography, the portrait, and the great American road trip.

I was thinking a lot about Robert Frank’s historical book, The Americans who spent a year traveling in the 50s during the Civil Rights Movement, photographing what real Americans were.

So I’m one of those kind of people that acts before they think, and I decided I was going to go and photograph all 626 of my Facebook friends in their homes all over the world.

I had about $50 in the bank, and I was working three-day jobs because the art market as you know collapsed. But I decided I was going to do it anyways.

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