In a relatively new corner of the world wide web there’s a website called kofi. You could say that it belongs to a group of new websites, some of them not even that new, about crowdfunding and being – through the internet – supported by the very same people who enjoy your work.
Kofi works in the way that you buy someone a coffee, or, technically, you just click a button and 3 bucks are transferred to that person, they can use it however.
I want to use kofi to give away free coffee to people in Shibuya, Tokyo.
In the midst of, or rather right next to, the busiest intersection in the world, there’s a starbucks with a second floor seating area where tourists and locals can enjoy their coffee while looking at the endless stream of people passing by below. I went to Japan last year, and took some time to interview people there, because it’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever been. But this time I wanted to do something different.
I want to connect this virtual reality where everything is buttons and icons, and we sometimes forget that there’s even a person on the other side of the profiles, with the very tangible, physical reality. Don’t get me wrong, there’s beauty in the virtual just as there is in the physical, but it is – above all else – interesting when they meet.
I want someone to be able to sit in front of their computer in America and click a button, and for it to cause me to buy and actual cup of coffee that I’ll give to an actual person out on the street. There’s nothing abstract about that, real cardboard cups and caffeine and money.
This project is a study in two areas I find endlessly fascinating. First of all, different realities versus each other. In this case, the collision and connection of physical and virtual reality. The transformation of something virtual into something “real”. And also the connection and collision between the physical and spiritual. I think acts of generosity change the atmosphere of an area and around a person. And the second area: The great exhange. The way in which we all link up and the constant exhange that is happening, always, whether it comes to money and business or services or compliments. If you’re stingy, no one seems to have enough, but the more generous you are and the more you step into the great exhange, the more you’ll notice it. We’re starting something.
So for now this is just an idea, but when it happens, or well, when I do it, I’ll invite you to virtually give a random person in the Shibuya crossing a fresh cup of coffee.
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