A few years back, I went to see "Me and You and Everyone We Know," the sweet and touching indy film written, directed and starring artist Miranda July. I really enjoyed the way the characters in the film were reaching for human connections and the overall strange etherealness that pervades July's narrative style.
... intrigued by the fact that she was an artist who became a filmmaker, I visited her website, which then led me to an ongoing web-based project that she and fellow-artist Harrell Fletcher are doing called, Learning to Love You More. Here's how they explain themselves:
Learning to Love You More is both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. Yuri Ono designs and manages the web site.
Participants accept an assignment, complete it by following the simple but specific instructions, send in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and see their work posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments is intended to guide people towards their own experience.
Since Learning To Love You More is also an ever-changing series of exhibitions, screenings and radio broadcasts presented all over the world, participant's documentation is also their submission for possible inclusion in one of these presentations. Past presentations have taken place at venues that include The Whitney Museum in NYC, Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, Aurora Picture Show in Houston, TX, The Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, WA, the Wattis Institute in San Francisco CA, among others.
Since LTLYM inception in 2002 over 5000 people have participated in the project.
Sounds cool, doesn't it?
Here are a few of the many "assignments":
• Make an educational public plaque.
• Draw the news.
• Give advice to yourself in the past.
• Make an exhibition of the art in your parent's house.
• Take a picture of your parents kissing.
• Recreate a poster you had as a teenager.
• Curate an artist's retrospective in a public place.
• Grow a garden in an unexpected spot.
• Recreate the moment after a crime.
• Take a picture of strangers holding hands.
The site has a way of simultaneously uplifting and unsettling... Check it out (and do an assignment or two while you're at it):
Learning to Love You More