Miao Jiaxin Wants You to Meet Your Facebook-Only Friends [Updated]


Undeterred by his last run in with Airbnb, Shanghai-born artist Miao Jiaxin (缪佳欣) again uses the online private lodging booking service for his latest project and offers the best lodging deal in the city.   Blind Meeting brings social media-only friends (for example, Facebook friends who have never met in person) together by having them book his studio space on Airbnb and sharing it for 24 hours.

Here’s the Airbnb listing.  It’s a pretty nice place.

As before, he sets some rules to make it interesting:

1. ) 2 people per meeting ONLY. You two will have to be social media (e.g. Facebook) friends with no more than 2 mutual friends. You’ve never met in person prior to the project.
2. ) 24 hours commitment to the project. American Eastern Time from 10AM to 10AM.

Within those 24 hours

a. The room is monitored and LIVE streamed online.
b. You CANNOT sleep.
c. You are free to do anything just like your own home, but you CANNOT leave the room.
d. You have to MAKE something: Make conversations, Make meals, Make objects/artworks, Make wishes/promises/decisions, Make a miracle if you can, Make love or anything based on mutual agreement.

Bookings are available now for January 2015.  We’ll update when the live stream goes up.

More than just a commentary on friendship and connecting in a world where social media dominates, Blind Meeting is deeply personal for Miao.  It was inspired by a project Miao’s friend and mentor artist Barbara DeGenevieve planned to do with him despite her bout with cancer.  The announcement of Blind Meeting includes his touching tribute:

“Last time I saw Barbara was in Chicago in February, 2014. She sat there across the table, and I could feel she was such a powerful woman spiritually and physically. She was the same Barbara I always knew, except she wore a scarf wrapped around her head because she lost all her beautiful white hair after chemotherapy. Yes, she said, Miao you may have heard that I have cancer. She told me that she was waiting for another major surgery in April, and then she was planning to come to New York for museum shows and her art projects. She knew I have my own studio/home in Brooklyn, and I’ve always told her whenever she feels like a visit to NYC, she should stay with me. This time Barbara seemed very positive. She said, Miao I will definitely come to NY after the surgery, and I want to make a piece of art together with you in your studio. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do, but she had a plan that we would setup video cameras, and prepare enough food, and stay together for 24 hours without sleep. Within those 24 hours, we would discuss, decide and make something happen. My major concern was so realistic. I told her I was not sure if I could handle 24 hours without sleep. She laughed at me, and said, Miao you must be kidding me, you’ve never pulled an all-nighter? I looked at her. She was 67 years old, and she was actually very sick.

I went back to New York. I didn’t dare to ask about her surgery, but I was positive and waited for her to contact me. And I was always ready for this 24-hour challenge. In the middle of the summer, I was told that Barbara died.”

Post was updated to share Miao’s tribute and to provide background of the project’s origins.

Image courtesy of Miao Jiaxin