Norman art student documents life via receipts

Hovering somewhere between a voyeuristic art project and an uncomfortably personal diary, Proof of Purchase documents one art student’s life through his receipts.

Riley Harmon, a junior studying media arts at the University of Oklahoma, said the project came after he noticied the large number of receipts he was accumulating in the back of his car every week. He started to analyze what each purchase meant in his life, writing his thoughts on the little pieces of paper and eventually posting them online.

“One day I got a cup of coffee and I started thinking about why I got this cup of coffee,” Harmon said. “I just wrote down what I was thinking on it and that’s how it started.”

Although traffic to the Web site started out slow, visitors have spiked into the thousands after links were posted on MetaFilter and StumpleUpon, two popular online communities. For Harmon, the increase in visibility has caused the candid notes about his life to alter his relationships.

“Sometimes I have to not talk about the project because people might act differently around me,” Harmon said. “Two different times I’ve gone to dinner with two different girls and I wrote on the receipts afterwards. After they looked at them it kind of changed things with our relationship because they were able to see what I was really thinking about.”

“”Allison Meier



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