Sometimes it seems like the moment we let go of trying to be original, we actually feel something new—which was the whole point of being artists in the first place. With this revelation in mind, we founded the website Learning To Love You More in 2002. Visitors to the site are invited to accept an assignment, complete it by following the instructions, and send in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc.). The report is then posted online by our collaborator, Yuri Ono. We tried to come up with assignments that we would want to do ourselves; often they came directly out of our personal lives or art practice. Five years later, there are more than 5,000 reports on the site.
Learning To Love You More asks the public to step away from the computer and make something. For this reason we like to show the original works when we can, in all their handmade glory. It takes some hunting to get them, (“Do you still have that drawing you sent into our website four years ago?” “Is this still your email address?”), but the effort is worth it. Unrolling a Charlie’s Angels poster fastidiously recreated in pencil from memory (Cindy Rehm from Murfreesboro, Tennessee in response to Assignment 18: Re-create a poster you had as a teenager), or hanging a cheerful sign that reads: “Death Is Not The End” (Wheat Wurtzburger from Orlando, Florida in response to Assignment 63: Make an encouraging banner) we are reminded that for reasons unknown to us, strangers we may never know set out into the collaborative unknown. Sometimes they even embarked in the dead of night, recording the sound of their boyfriend snoring (Fiona from Quezon City, Manila, Philippines in response to Assignment #58: Record the sound that’s keeping you awake). The jpegs and tiffs they email us are just souvenirs; their experience is the point. This show represents only a tiny selection of work from the archive, but we hope it describes the complex world of Learning To Love You More, and the frequently wild, sometimes hilarious, and quietly stunning creative lives of a few people living on Earth right now.
A Note on the journal A few of the best reports were sent in by guy named Tim Barber. Over time we saw Tim’s photographs popping up all over the place, and we realized that he, like many of the participants, was an established artist who for some reason decided to follow our instructions now and again. Tim eventually became a Senior Editor at the journal, and invited us to curate the “Salon” section for the upcoming issue. It seemed fitting that we should have a Learning To Love You More show at the journal Gallery, in celebration of the brand new Learning To Love You More book and the journal entry 21, which comes out later this month.
Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July October 2007