Last month, Aucklanders may have been approached by a Japanese man asking to swap clothes.
Those who were would have learned the man was Yoshinari Nishio, an artist whose work explores the way people use clothing as a way of communicating.
Auckland is the fourth city in which he has done this performance work, after Paris, Nairobi in Kenya and Cotonou in the Republic of Benin.
For artwork, Nishio approaches strangers and asks them to swap clothes with him and be photographed.
A film and images of the clothes swaps are currently on display in AUT University's St Paul St Gallery.
About 32 photos show Nishio wearing different people's clothing - be it a dress and leggings, a tank top and hotpants or a high-vis vest and workboots.
His works are part of Invisible Energy - an exhibition that showcases the work of six contemporary Japanese artists that is part of the Auckland Arts Festival.
Nishio said working in Auckland was the most challenging city for him - people seemed busy and suspicious of what he was doing.
"When I conducted this project in African cities and Paris, I just memorised simple phrases to negotiate with people in their languages like Swahili and French.
"So when they asked me something, I couldn't understand at all. I was like a child or baby. It means that we couldn't communicate with each other using language, which I think made it easier to use clothes to break our barrier.
"But this time in Auckland, I used English which I can understand."
Nishio said this made things more difficult at first - at the beginning of the project, he was rejected by 60 out of the 61 people he approached.
"During the first three days, I didn't tell people that this was an art project and I was [an] artist. I just tried to explain [this] was a new way of communication I had tried in several cities. They [didn't] trust me."
After three days, he changed tack and explained to Aucklanders that they would be part of an art project.
"They trusted me and some were happy [to have] their photos in the gallery." He said he thought this indicated New Zealanders had a good understanding of his work.
Gallery director Charlotte Huddleston said she was not surprised to hear Nishio initially found it difficult to find Kiwis to engage with.
"New Zealanders can be reticent. It did seem to take off eventually though."
• Invisible Energy, including work by Yoshinari Nishio, is at St Paul St Gallery until March 27. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, and Saturday, 12pm to 4pm.