Searching the web is no different than searching for sea glass if you really think about it. Sometimes you start out with a purpose, sometimes you just go for a little stroll. If you go out searching for a certain piece, chances are you’ll come home with something completely different than you had in mind. Most of the time it’s better than you imagined and sometimes, it’s a real gem. An inimitable stone that appears before you as it’s washed up out of the vast sea. It’s so unique you stare at it for a moment and think about where it has traveled and if anyone has ever held it before. As you examine the piece closely, you can’t help but wonder if you found it or it found you.
A few months back I came across the most unique stone I have ever seen, only this time it came from a different ocean. An ocean we are all familiar with and have been known to surf from time to time. The ocean that we all know as “The Internet.”
It was early March 2005 and I was in need of a picture of an old man for something to do with my screenplay. Since I have long ago stopped asking Jeeves any questions at all (except Are You Jealous Of Google?), I went straight to Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s masterpiece, known to the world as Google. Before I go on, I have something to say to Larry and Sergey. THANK YOU!!
Thank you for being brilliant and coming up with the search engine of all search engines. Without you two I would have had to Ask Jeeves for a picture of an old man and would have never gotten a straight answer. (By the way, nice balls guys.)
I opened up Google and I typed in OLD MAN. Within a few seconds hundreds of images popped up. Page after page I saw images of old men and other bizarre things.
I saw Cuban 80 year olds sucking on cigars…
The cover of Old Man and the Sea….
Faces like this that made me nervous…
A bobble head in honor of the classic movie, A Christmas Story…
Even old men making fire…
Oh Google. What would we do without you?
Although the man was not old enough for what I was looking for, I was intrigued by the stone and clicked on the link that it came from
I would soon be taken for a ride around the world through the website of Hans BIWI Lechner, an Austrian artist. The picture of the old man holding the black stone was part of his art project called The Rolling Stone, just one of his conceptual art projects documented on his site.
To quote his website Hans “found the thirty pound heavy stone at the banks of the Danube river in Austria and painted it with a symbol he created as the graphic representation of the question for the meaning of life, in the shape of a genderless human figure looking up to a triangle. For over 18 years Hans has been “rolling” the stone all over the world to places and people he photographs with his stone. He has traveled to 48 countries of the world and photographed more than 2000 people holding the rolling stone in their hands. This conceptual art project is a work in progress that connects and unites people, beyond religion, color, money or nationality. People are united in their common search for the meaning of life. They are connected with each other in their quest.”
Those are only a handful of pictures amongst the many others on the website. It’s quite amazing how many places that stone has been to and how many individuals have held it.
To read an explanation of this project go here:
After looking at these images of the stone, I was so intrigued to learn about the stories behind the pictures that I had to contact Hans. Although thousands of miles away in Vienna, Austria I was able to get in touch with Hans through a click of the mouse thanks to Ray Tomlinson.
Within a few days Hans wrote me back and we exchanged stories. I explained to him that I also had an object I documented at different locations and I sent him some pictures of Ardy the rubber duck. When he informed me of a planned trip to Southern California in August, we agreed to meet so that Ardy and the Stone could be documented together.
All Quality Individuals deserving of a Quality Hat.
We all enjoyed a nice evening drinking Brazilian coffee and eating Catherine’s famous blueberry curry complimented with some Australian wine. A nice cultural meal, a mile from Sunset Blvd.
Catherine and Hans had just arrived into LA after traveling around the east coast of Canada and the United States leaving stones like this for people to find.
Leaving these stones around the world is part of another conceptual art project called: The Common Denominator. The project is based around the idea of trying to connect people through a series of coincidences. When someone finds a stone, they will turn it over and on the back they will see the words, “You are now a part of my art. www.getstoned.cc.” On the website there are many testimonials from people who have found stones in some random places around the world.
When you have a minute and feel like doing some surfing, grab your surfboard and take a look at Hans’ website. Believe me you will not be disappointed.
On that note, I suggest you keep your eyes open because there are thousands of stones placed all around the world just waiting to be found. One of my favorite comments on the website is from a person named Toasty Jackson who found a stone back in 2003. The comment read: “I found your stone in Jacksonville, Florida in the parking lot of a Chinese Restaurant off San Jose Blvd.”
Yeah, you never know when one will wash up at your feet.