Found Magazine, the brainchild of Davy Rothbart and his brother Peter, is a truly dangerous thing.
Many hours of a perfectly innocent working day can be lost to their intriguing and utterly addictive website, which is dedicated to collecting anything that is, well, found.
This autumn, Found has decided to bring its highly acclaimed live show across the pond to Europe and at the end of October the tour is debuting in Sweden. As Davy explains:
“We have had many finds over the years from Sweden, but we would like more. The point of the tour is to introduce Found to people who might not know about it.”
Indeed, the project hinges on the involvement of the public: “Our readership is very important,” says Davy.
“I think of Found as a gigantic collaborative artwork. We need people to participate in order for it to work.”
The 90 minute show will be hitting venues in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm and promises to be a very original spectacle.
“Found is a collection of notes, photos, letters, to-do lists, love letters – any scrap of something that shows a glimpse of someone else’s life,” says Davy.
“The items are found everywhere; the street, alleys, prison yards, bowling alleys, even in the ocean.”
In speaking to Davy, it is clear that he holds a real delight in compiling the collection.
“It’s such a treat to find things, it’s great to go out to our mail box every day,” he gushes.
Davy helps to explain why the found objects make such compelling reading.
“You can relate to the items found, you can see yourself in them.”
Furthermore the pieces sent in are “universal, a fragment of a much wider story. They are riddles, puzzles, mysteries – it’s up to the reader to try and interpret them.”
Many of the objects are just plain funny, but there are also items that are touching and often very personal. So is Found just intrusive voyeurism?
“Yes, I guess it could be seen as voyeuristic, but I think a certain amount of voyeurism is healthy,” says Davy.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I go around peering into people’s windows or anything like that! We are surrounded by strangers all the time; it’s natural to be curious. We want to see other people’s experiences of being human.”
Some of the finds are deeply touching, as Davy remarks when explaining one of the most memorable items for him that has been sent in over the years:
“It was a letter someone wrote to their Mom, explaining how they have finally found love and are happy. You get the impression that maybe this person’s Mom is either away or not here anymore.
“It was found attached to a balloon which had got caught on a tree in a cemetery. It was just so beautiful and profound I literally started crying over this note.”
The Found team, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has 100 to 200 items sent in to them every week, and while some items do arrive from Europe, the majority are American.
At the shows, Davy gets up on stage with a stack of his favourite Found notes and letters and gives them an energetic reading. His brother plays songs that he has written based on Found notes.
As Davy confesses, while reading out the finds, he “tends to get a little rowdy and carried away”.
The Found show also features 19-year-old, sword swallowing, fire-breathing extravaganza, Brett Loudermilk.
“We found him in this back-water type little town in West Virginia and we just thought he was amazing. So he’s with us on the tour too,” says Davy.
The Found Magazine European Tour will be in Sweden on the following dates:
Malmö: October 29th
På Besök, Nobelvägen 73,
Gothenburg: October 30th
8pm @ Cafe Publik, Andralånggatan 20.
Stockholm: November 1st (NB: This is the correct date, not October 31st as previously announced)
8pm @ Dramalabbet, Östgötagatan 2.
From the live show (Warning – strong language):