If We Wrote the News by Julie Newdoll

There has been a lot of press about our project, some correct and some not. As author of the travelogues, and keeper of the website, including making links to all the press, I felt I had to get a few things off of my chest. Not that anyone will read this, as many of the articles and blogs say things about us who clearly have never seen our website, but it is worth a try.

First I would like to explain our interaction with HP. As with all the wooden cutouts, I contacted their endpoints ahead of time to let them know a sculpture was due to arrive, and not in our hands. I phoned and emailed a person at HP to tell them that we were doing this project, and a likeness of Hewlett and Packard was going to show up at their doorstep. Here is what my email said

Dear (Name withheld),

(It was) suggested I contact you regarding our electronic art project which includes life size wooden cutouts of Hewlett and Packard.  They have been sculpted together with their garage at life size and GPS units have been installed in them along with long lasting batteries.  They will be hitchhiking around the bay area this week as part of the Zero One Electronic Arts Festival in San Jose. They have notes on their backs asking passers-by to pick them up and help them get to their destination.  This destination happens to be Hewlett and Packard in Palo Alto. Hewlett-Packard Company Headquarters, 3000 Hanover Street, Palo Alto, CA  94304

You will be able to track their movements as of late Saturday afternoon on our website:


I would like to inform Hewlett-Packard that the cutout is coming, but I am not sure who to tell. If they make it, HP has the option of displaying it somewhere for a while if they like.  I am sure the HP hitchhikers would love to visit their garage for a while. If HP would like to purchase it for their collection, or have someone purchase it and donate it, the sculptor is going to put them up for sale after the project.  If HP does not want it, or when they are through with it, please contact me and I will come and retrieve it.

Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy the project.

Very best,
Julie Newdoll
Director of exhibits
YLEM - Artists using Science and Technology

As you can see, our emphasis was not selling the cutout. We were just giving them the first dibs. We did not mention a price, nor were we ever asked. I followed up this email with a phone call to (Name withheld). She told me that she did not know what to do with this information. They had nowhere to put them. However, she did agree that she would call me when they arrived so that I could come and retrieve them.

When Mark Laubach called the same person not mentioned above (Name withheld) upon his arrival with Hewlett and Packard cutouts, he was told that they could not be left in the HP lobby for retrieval. Apparently, this person had changed their mind and decided not to assist me in retrieving it, or even allow them to enter the lobby. She did not say that Mark could not hand it over to me in the parking lot, so that is where I met him to retrieve H and P. Mark says of the phone call, "I worked for HP from 1979 to 1994 and directly felt the presence of Bill and Dave in the company.  I value highly my own experience with The HP Way.  When the opportunity came up to participate in the YLEM Hitchhiker art and technology project, I jumped at the chance to help Hewlett and Packard get to their destination and also show them a good time as you can see in my photo journal on the YLEM website. I was a bit disappointed that HP was cold on the project and refused to even baby sit the Hitchhikers.  At least I was able to hand them over to Julie in the HP parking lot."

Second, regarding how Bill and Dave might feel about having a sculpture made of themselves, that we ultimately sold to fund our project. Everyone that interacted with H and P had a great time and took amazing pictures. I love reading the pages and looking at the photos, especially those at Lick Observatory. Artists have made sculptures of famous people since day one. Someone had to pay the artists or at least give them something to eat while they were working. Sun's investment in our piece has more than paid off for them with all the publicity they have already received. Getting a grant for an art project is quite challenging, especially with a short timeline, in this country. I am grateful that we were able to sell one of the sculptures and recover at least some of our costs. Half of the sale will go to those who carried it around and about 10% will go to our non-profit group, YLEM. Ideally, we will sell at least one more and perhaps have some money left over to buy our kids shoes. If you would like to make an offer before they go onto e-bay, contact exhibits _at_ ylem.org. Thanks for listening!