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Passive Aggressive Notes

Posted by Alex Bec,

Nothing quite gets a point across more effectively than a quickly scribbled note. Whether your housemate has left their washing up for longer than is sanitary, or your salad dressing has been stolen from the fridge one too many times, sometimes the only way to get yourself heard is to write your thoughts down. Passive aggressive notes is a project set up to document the reams of ill-tempered scrawled notes, all under one roof for your viewing pleasure. A show of some of them in their original context and as original pieces opens tonight at KK OUTLET and we can vouch for it being a bit of a treat.

We had a chat to founder Kerry about the project and how it all started…

If you could sum up passive aggressive notes in your very own note, what would it say?

I’d probably add the caveat that some of the notes included aren’t really ‘passive-aggressive’ in the strictest sense of the word. Some of them are really more aggressive in tone, and some of them are more passive; polite even, but they all share a common sense of frustration that’s been channeled into written form rather than a direct confrontation. So you can wipe that know-it-all smirk off your face, k?

How did it all start?

Well, at the time I was living in a flat in Brooklyn with three other roommates, all four of us sharing one bathroom. So, um, let’s say I had some experience with the subject.

What note would you like to frame and keep forever?

Well, I always have a soft spot for the notes from mothers and grandmothers – they’re truly masters of the art form. But this is the note I had really wanted to put on the cover of my book.

Why have you decided to have a show of the work?

Well, I’ve always thought of these notes as works of art, so the conceit of a gallery show really kind of tickled me.

Where do you see the project going from here?

Oh, god, I have no idea. You know, I’m still kind of amazed that it’s gotten this far. I mean, this is a project I started in the middle of the night — drunk — with no real goals or expectations about anyone seeing it beyond my immediate circle of friends. That said, I do have a spin-off site in the works.

What was the last Passive Agressive Note you wrote yourself?

I’ve always been more of a “direct confrontation” gal. And if there’s one thing this project has taught me, it’s that passive-aggressive notes, more often than not, will only backfire on you.

What do you get angry about?

Well, I can tell you that my number of pet peeves has been reduced considerably since I moved out of my four-bedroom share into my own apartment. Now I have no one to blame but myself for my own filth!

You released a book about the notes, do you think they lose/gain anything out of context?

Well, I definitely wouldn’t have done the book if I didn’t think there was something compelling and different about the format. For the notes in the book I specifically chose ones that didn’t require a whole lot of backstory in order to make sense. And on their own, I think each one becomes like a really short story, almost (albeit one with an unreliable narrator.) It’s fun, I think, speculating about what was going through this person’s minds when they made certain decisions — to emphasize this word, not that, or to choose this, specific piece of ridiculous clip art.

The show runs until June 20th at KK Outlet

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Posted by Alex Bec

Alex is one of the directors of It’s Nice That who now oversees our sister creative agency INT Works. For several years he oversaw the Monday Morning Music Video feature until it came to an end in 2014.