Residents of Craigslist: Program Notes
The Residents of Craigslist is an original, fount-text work created entirely from Craigslist posts. Will Bonfiglio and Lucy Cashion created the piece with support from the Regional Arts Commission. It contains graphic language and strobe lights and is therefore not suitable for all audiences.
“Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars.”
- Walter Benjamin, Trauerspiel, 1928
When Will and I first started adapting this work, the unique and unpredictable posts interested me the most - the posts that made me say, “I can’t believe someone actually wrote that!” But as we crawled through hundreds of messages, gradually I found myself more and more drawn to the posts that sounded like all the others, whose contents were completely mundane. I started to notice overarching themes and repeated motifs among them. Craigslist began to remind me of the expression “at the end of my rope.” To me many of the posts’ creators share the experience of using Craigslist as a last resort – whether it’s to find (or dispose of) an ordinary object, or love, or one’s past, or the future.
I learned two things in making this work. First, I am more interested in how I’m like others than how I’m unique or different from them. Secondly, content and especially content’s relationship to meaning is somewhat arbitrary. This is not a work of docudrama – trying to accurately portray or represent any of the posts’ original creators is not this work’s goal. In creating this production, we’ve re-contextualized others’ words to mean whatever inspires us or serves us best. But I do believe in doing so we’ve discovered, here and there, what these “others” have in common and I believe that is a story worth (re)telling. Perhaps it is a story that parallels all our attempts to put the fractured narrative of life into some sort of whole with meaning.
This one is for the Williams.
- Lucy Cashion