Contact- Jo O Connor


Gregg Smith: Tell me a bit about your project?

Jo O' Connor: It's very simple. I placed adverts for myself and corresponded with the people who responded to me. They have become participants in the project and I have let them drive it. Whoever has responded to me, I responded to, basically. It's been a very natural process, a journey on which other people have lead me on.

GS: You had ever done it before?

JOC: No, I would never in my natural normal life, I am quite a private person. But I am very interested in the whole absurdity of making your intimate personal life so public. That's the whole irony of it. Like private and public space. I suppose I wanted to know more about it. Put myself through the torture. I've had a lot of great things coming through this interface. But I've also had a lot of frustration. Some people seem to be shallow, some brave, a lot of them are hyper intelligent. But they are all real, yet very disembodied. Because we communicate so much through internet, e-mail, the phone, texting,... Everybody does it nowadays.

GS: So you place for example an advert in a newspaper. They write back to you via the agent, the newspaper and then you receive this letter a week or two later, sometimes a month. It's quite old fashioned, no?

JOC: And very slow, specially the newspaper side, it's almost archaic. But it's really quite something to receive a letter. All you've done is put an advert. That person has sat down, taken time to write a letter to you. A complete stranger, going through all of their effort and posted it. One of them really stood out. I was being quite cryptic and just being a bit playful. I didn't want to describe who I was at all. So I said: something like ‘Contact wearer seeks blablabla people with all kinds of vision'. Then I got this letter from a lady who wrote about how much she depends on her contact lenses. What she thinks about glasses. My last letter was three pages, both sides, typed single-spaced from a complete stranger. Very open and extraordinary, funny, very special. My policy has been to reply to everybody except for one person who wanted me to phone him. He was quite suggestive. So I decided not to. From a few people I have received about three letters but that‘s as far as it's gone.


Brief encounter: codename Archipelago (excerpts from emailed correspondence)

hi archipelago lovely profile . in short im a seperated guy looking for short term friend . plse reply

Hi Mallow Thanks for your mail. I think I should mention this, though: from your profile/advert it's clear that you are looking for a shag(s). I'm not advertising/using the internet to look for that - I'm using this site as some kind of free-association way to make contact with strangers and develop an exchange of sorts. Despite our different intentions, if you'd still like to correspond that would be cool... otherwise thanks for your interest, and good luck.

thnx for reply - point taken no problem . ps archipelago ?

Cool. What do you mean: ps archipelago?
ps mallow?

what exactly does archipelago mean ?

An archipelago is a collection of islands in a large body of water (like the Galapogos) ... a fitting analogy, I thought, to this internet thing.

very well thought out . saw the word a few times but never really bothered checking it out . after your explanation it all makes sense . what about "mallow" ?

Why thank you.
'mallow' could be
- as in 'marsh...', which means that you consider yourself to be soft and sweet and sticky when burnt.
- as in some plant form (I have a murky recollection of a plant with a purple flower) which means whatever.
- as in a (hopefully purposeful) mis-spelling of the word 'mellow', which means that you are well-matured and permanently partially intoxicated.

good interpretation but no where close . spelling in this case is actually correct . "mallow" is actually a product brand that i import from the usa . you have a good response from matchmaker ? you sound special

Well what are my chances of knowing that, hey? A brand for what product?
Btw, thanks (I think) for the compliment.

hi a , "mallow" is the brand of a door handle that we import from the far east via the u.s . very popular and at a reasonable price . what suburb do you stay in and how do you spend your time ? asking much i suppose

Yes, you are asking much! At the moment I am spending my time trying to recuperate from a very late night. Brain cell count is low.
I live somewhere in Cape Town and that's all you need to know, I reckon!

now thats the type of message i need on a monday morning ! didnt want to know EXACTLY where , but anyway . had a very quiet weekend - contrary to yours it seems .