Art Note: Shizuka Yokomizo, Stranger.
by Daniel Haim
Dear Stranger (1998-2000) is a highly self-conscious study in photographic voyeurism. Shizuka Yokomizo mailed anonymous letters to ground-floor apartment dwellers in Berlin, New York, London, and Tokyo, asking whether they might stand in front of their windows at a set time in the evening so that she could photograph them.
The recipients of her letters were instructed to turn on all their lights, wear typical clothes, and remain still; or, if they were unwilling to take part, to lower their blinds or draw their curtains. In this way, all those addressed knew that their apartments were being watched, and that they were interacting with a stalker of sorts, who appeared outside their window after sundown as a silhouette. Yokomizo promised to refrain from any exchange with her addressees: No knock on the door. No conversation. Only two complete strangers fully complicit in the act of photography.