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Henry Goldkamp asks 'What the hell is St. Louis thinking?'

9:40 PM, Sep 17, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) - What the hell is St. Louis thinking? This is exactly what Henry Goldkamp is asking with his new project.

Goldkamp, an artist and project manager of 'What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking?,' is placing typewriters all over the city in the hopes that St. Louisians will share their stories, jokes, heartbreak, and ideas.

"I'm collecting the thoughts of St. Louis," Goldkamp said.

Goldkamp's inspiration for the project came after created something for himself called "Fresh Poetry." He would sit down somewhere in the city and ask passerbyes to give him topics. In 10 to 15 minutes, on the spot, he would write stories or poems based on the topics.

Goldkamp eventually learned that he wasn't doing justice to what people had to say.

"I learned that people can put together what they're thinking better than I can," he said. "People's words are beautiful."

In order to get a better grasp on St. Louis' thoughts, Goldkamp developed the idea for city wide project called What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking?, where he will place typewriters in 30 businesses and organizations across the city.

"I tried to be as diverse as possible," he said. "There will be typewriters in cemeteries, museums, libraries, record stores, and other local institutions."

Anyone will be able to come up to the typewriters, which will be placed on podiums, and write what's on their mind. Afterward, they can place their composition in a slot in the podium.

Goldkamp hopes to compile many of the writings into a book.

"St. Louis is the author," he said. "I love this city. It's teeming with beauty and talent and I think it's about to burst open. I would like to serve as a catalyst to this."

Goldkamp's project, which runs tentatively for the month of August, is well on track. The artist has already set up seven podiums at locations such as Sasha's on Shaw, HandleBar, and CBGB. The rest of the podiums will be in place by Friday.

One of the prototypes has elicited a strong, positive response, according to Goldkamp.

"It's already exceeded my expectations," Goldkamp said. "I received over 40 entries, ranging from stories of heartbreak to hilarious jokes, at a very modest location."

In the end, Goldkamp is looking to bring together the city with the art project.

"It's going to unify St. Louis," he said. "When you're typing on a typewriter, you have to be very definite with what you're writing. It becomes an extension of yourself. They're magical machines."

If you would like to mail him your comment, send it to: What the hell is St. Louis thinking? PO Box 63438, St. Louis, Mo. 63163.

NewsChannel 5 intern Michael Rich contributed to this story.


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