Last winter I was happy to learn that my new neighbor was New York/Berlin artist David Krepfle. He recently moved to the area from Berlin, where he spent the last several years working and showing. But it wasn’t until now that I discovered that we are “friends on Facebook” and have more than 600 “friends” in common. That’s what happens when you have nearly 5000 friends on Facebook, you haven’t a clue who among them you really know.
Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg had some wisdom in limiting us to 5000 “friends”. I found that after 4000 you hit a sort of critical mass where dozens of people are requesting to be your friend each day. I have tried to figure out a criteria upon which to base the friendship. Since I frequently “friend” artists, I tend to go by the quality of their work — the less sentimental the better; their politics – left of center, please; their religious views — prefereably they refrain from sharing them; what books they read – so few mention them; or the TV shows they watch – Jon Stewart is an instant acceptance; and the number of friends we have in common.
And here there is an odd split. If we have several hundred friends in common (I actually have a few friends where we have over a thousand in common) I feel that we are from the same tribe, probably seriously interested in art and willing to share our enthusiasm about it. But more precious than that are those “friends” with whom I only have a few friends in common, fewer than a dozen; because in that case, it is highly likely that I actually know the person or at least know very well the people we know in common.
Today, as I headed out of town on my way to the studio, I saw David outside of the house he is renovating. I stopped and inspected his gardens, saw how the renovation was coming, and checked on his bees. He gave me a bag of freshly picked tomatoes, beans, squash and peppers and told me that he was in need of some glass for a window he was installing. Tonight on my way home, I dropped off some glass I had in the studio.
It reminded me that all of my “friends” exist in both the real and the virtual world. But how great is it to find out that someone I “friended” with a click of a button, really is part of my tribe — so much so that even though, like me, he has practiced his art all over the world, he is quite happy to live here in Shushan.