Adrian Piper created My Calling Card in 1986 as an artwork, as far as we know. Thirty years later, we’re thinking how useful it would be for cleverly, silently, simply informing unwanted company that we really DO want to be alone in a public place…and then have our coffee, eat our delicious meal…enjoy our cocktail…dreamily…in peace.

And in a broader view, it made us realize the greater potential for light, easy-t0-carry and handout business-card-size (2″x 3″) cards. They can be bought in perforated sheets and easily printed with any message at all using Avery templates.

We can imagine leaving tiny poems and startling messages around in unexpected places, as a sort of guerrilla action…

Sally Schneider

…(How would it be to see this on a park bench or bus seat?)

Sally Schneider

You could buy a bunch of cards and just STAMP ‘EM!

Mikihiko Hori/Flickr

Then you just need the gumption to pass your message out, or just leave them places…



via Artists’ Books, Multiples and Editions

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7 replies on “A Calling Card that Sends Interlopers Away, and Other Unexpected Messages

  1. So the original message was: we do not talk to each other anymore?
    That has certainly come true. Message cards of these days have 140 characters.

    Enjoying your uplifting take on it . It kind of reminds me of the books one leaves for someone else to find | read | leaf through.

  2. I don’t think the original message was: we do not talk to each other anymore. I think it is: sometimes we don’t want to talk to anyone (I can think of many times I’ve been alone in a bar or restaurant and was not looking for company) and it seems like a rather gentle way to handle it. But these days, who allows themselves to be truly alone? We always seems to have our phones….

  3. I have to agree with Sally. In a life filled with noise and constant communication it’s great to just spend some time by myself…it’s hard to find a place and time where I am alone.

  4. It just seems unkind to me, handing someone a wordy message before we know why they contact us. Obviously if this is an artful ‘calling card’ it makes a lot of sense.
    In daily life sometimes a simple card, shown could make things easier, help us understand each other (one example is being on the autism spectrum).

    A phone can make one feel less alone, it also often makes people be more alone: Phones (computers) already are a tool to ward off unwanted communication/contact. For some cases useful, in others a possible loss.

    Everybody is allowed to shut down (or simply silence) their phone(s) for at least some time in the day. It should be in the manual : ) time-out card ..

  5. Anything that makes bridges and understand is good, for my money. I like the idea of a simple, carefully-worded card that could help someone understand an other way of being. Autism is a very good example.

    At a retreat center I sometimes visit, people wear a little sign that says “In Silence”, to let people know they are doing a silent retreat.

  6. Seriously, with article ant-commercialism than you charge to read?
    The joy of not buying anything indeed.

  7. Do you not realize that I work very hard on providing content daily AND pay the costs of maintaining its presence, in the form of developer, web host, assistant? All the while trying to keep it a clear, ad-free pace. Is this what you call “commercialism?”

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