I’ve been so amazed at how this became a thing.
The story is, my first year at Stanford (Y2K) we were having a party at the Loft, and it’s a bit hard to see from the street, so I thought, hey, it’d be fun to make a sign so my friends know when they get here. And then I thought, it’d be a fun existential double-entendre if it says “You Are Here”, so that after the party it’ll be a random reminder of being present, and that if you have impostor syndrome (which I usually do), you can remind yourself that it’s ok, you’re actually here, where it’s all happening, you have arrived in life.
But it was just a cute thing for a party that I hung over the entranceway.
After the party was over, I didn’t know what to do with it, so I hung it in the library over the door to the main loft. It wasn’t a big thing, and when I graduated & moved away, I just left it there with the hundred other things people made, to disappear in its own time.
…imagine my surprise when I came back to teach in 2007, and found it bolted to the wall outside! And I was told that Bernie Roth took it to Burning Man one year, driving around a golf cart with the sign held aloft (I was on the playa that year & didn’t see it, but it’s a big place.) In 2009, the students had it on their flyer for the new loft design.
David Goligorsky made a lollipop of it.
And when it was on the PD website, I was beside myself! (Though I never got a screen shot of it–anyone got a record?) I wish the rest of my work had so much traction! Eventually the elements took their toll on the sign on the Loft wall, and it got a revamp by Purin Phanichphant, with the help of Eugene Korsunskiy, who now teaches with me at Dartmouth on the opposite end of the country! When I was contracting for Autodesk, I was again flabbergasted to find Cory Bloome had hung the original sign in Pier 9. In 2019, Purin made lapel pins of it.
I think the sign’s influence is dying down again now (?), it’s off the website, but I’m delighted to have the pin, and delighted that it’s still rippling out there!
Long live You Are Here!