Sheryl Oring Presents “I Wish to Say” at Bryant Park In New York City

 In summer 2015, a team of five typists took dictation at the Out of Site Festival in Chicago. Photo: Dhanraj Emanuel.
In summer 2015, a team of five typists took dictation at the Out of Site Festival in Chicago. Photo: Dhanraj Emanuel.

This month, Sheryl Oring (2006 Emerging Fields) brings her Creative Capital-supported project, I Wish to Say, to NYC’s Bryant Park as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. In an era of instant news and smartphones, I Wish to Say relies on another era’s technology to encourage citizens to express themselves on the U.S. presidential election. More than 60 volunteer typists will staff tables throughout the park, using vintage manual typewriters to take down letters to the presidential candidates as dictated by passersby. Oring will mail all the cards typed during the event to the candidates, and excerpts will be shared with the public during readings held throughout the day at Bryant Park

Since 2004, Oring has presented I Wish to Say in 60 venues nationwide and mailed more than 2,000 postcards to President Bush, President Obama and the current presidential candidates. The Bryant Park / PEN Word Voices staging of I Wish to Say will be her largest event to date.

Oring writes,

The human presence has a huge effect on people and has made this project so successful–and it has had this impact because of the prevalence of social media. People just aren’t talking to each other so much anymore. Ask my students. They’d rather text than talk. So talking, and listening, become even more powerful.

Shery Oring, I Wish to Say
When: April 26, 2016, 12:30-6:30pm (Rain date: April 27)
Presented by PEN World Voices Festival

Where: Bryant Park, 40th-42nd Streets (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) New York, NY

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