Participatory & Network Art

Learning to Love You More

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1) Summary

Beginning in 2002, Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July (known for her award-winning film Me and You and Everyone We Know) created the project Learning to Love You More in which the general public responded to 70 creative assignments given by the two artists over the span of seven years. Over 8,000 participants accepted and completed a simple but specific assignment (photograph, text, video, etc), which was then sent in and posted to their online website designed and managed by Yuri Ono. Some of these assignments included make a field guide to your yard, photograph a significant outfit, give advice to yourself in the past, draw a constellation from someone’s freckles, and make an encouraging banner. “Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments was intended to guide people towards their own experience.” As well as the participant’s documentation being posted online, a selection of the most memorable submissions were presented in exhibitions, screenings, and radio broadcasts located all over the world. The collaborative public art project was also created into a book.

2) Response

I find the participatory art project, Learning to Love You More, to be a refreshing take on how people around us think, act, and love. It is interesting how this project is a mixture between artists and non-artists of all ages, and I like that the website does not really distinguish between who does art as a profession and who is just participating in the assignments. The accumulation of assignments on the website are extremely engaging as I had to pretty much force myself to close the tab because I was spending way too much time going through each assignment. I found the submissions to be creative and heartwarming. I also thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of the assignments, which left the result sort of open ended as some submissions were hilarious and oddly brilliant, while others were quite moving. Nonetheless, my overall experience of Learning to Love You More left me starry eyed and wishing for more.

Participatory & Network Art

Engage in the Art

Our advanced art approaches a fragile but marvelous life, one that maintains itself by a mere thread, melting into an elusive, changeable configuration, the surroundings, the artist, his work and everyone who comes to it.”- Allan Kaprow

1) Summary In Meg Floryan’s article Interactive and Participatory Art, she states that the physical action and intellectual encounters of the audience into the art itself is the creation of interactive and participatory art. The audience interacting with and experiencing the art is what becomes the true object or subject of the work. Art only reaches completion through this participatory nature, which can range from relatively passive involvement to mild interaction to total immersion of the public. Participatory art has earned and still continues to earn significant attention from our culture. We as a culture are accustomed to interactivity and have grown to expect instant gratification, which is why we resonate deeply with art that reflects such involvement. With inclusive experience, the understanding of the artwork is strengthened because it inspires the public to spend more time connecting with the piece and its underlying meaning. To witness the poignant and emotional reactions of visitors, one only needs to look to Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at MoMA, The Artist Is Present, in which strangers elected to sit opposite the artist and gaze into her eyes for an unspecified amount of time in order to experience participatory art. 

2) Response I think this concept of the audience becoming the art is quiet intriguing to experience and incorporate into my own pieces of art. It is interesting to me that “artists have provided an outlet for every sentiment—from relishing in our memories of and love for our mothers to releasing pent-up aggression and frustrations.” I feel that is what art should do; art should confront the visitor with different feelings of emotion whether they be good or bad. Personally, I have experienced many different emotions, such as happiness, sadness, nostalgia, fear, etc., while viewing or participating in art. With participatory art, it opens your mind up to a new way of interaction and can leave you with a new perception of the world around you. Marina Abramovic is one of those artists that have changed the way others perceive life and even death. I have watched many of her past and present performances on YouTube or Vimeo and the amazing documentary The Artist is Present on Netflix, and I find her work to be very inspiring. Through performance or participatory art, she presents herself, her body to the audience, which consists of her doing unimaginable tasks usually for long durations in order to push her own physical and mental limits. In Rhythm 0, 1974, she stood in front of a crowd of people as an object for six hours and presented to them 72 other objects, including grapes, wine, bullet, pistol, which they could use on her in any way they pleased. In her more recent durational performance, 512 Hours, 2014, the public became the performing body with their participation in selected props and communal interaction, which majority found to be a peaceful or transcendental experience. After, the public were invited to share their reactions, and one visitor wrote “we are all equal, we are all the same.”