Sheryl Oring developed “Role Model” after being invited to present work at the first Art Prospect festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, in fall 2012. The festival was organized around the theme of “model,” and she decided to set up a public office with two typists and invite passersby to answer the question: “What can Russia teach the world?”
The idea for this work grew out of Oring’s experience of living in Berlin, of living outside of her native culture in a place where not everything made sense. It was often disconcerting to not know the social codes and expectations. And often liberating as well.
There’s so much talk about “globalization” and yet so many people haven’t had the good fortune to experience life in a different culture. Oring sees this work as a way of exploring alternate ways of life, of thinking, of being and presenting these ideas in ways that people around the world can share.
In January 2013, the project was restaged in São Paulo, Brazil, at the Encuentro festival sponsored by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University.
In Fall 2014, Role Model was presented in Dubai in conjunction with the International Symposium on Electronic Art.