Love is Over. Or is it?
“…everything is being slashed – pensions, wages, everything. And at the end of the day, what you’re left with is the stuff that doesn’t cost anything: love. For the people who have it, it’s amazing how that can give you the strength to make it through the crisis. If you don’t have it, where is it? Why don’t you have it? “ Theopi Skarlatos, creator of Love in Crisis
Love has been co-opted by religion, politics, science, environment and death making its meaning meaningless. Love is a story, a product, a lifestyle, a religion… an image. Still, today we have no idea what it means.
“What is Love? is the most asked question on Google next to “What is Google?”
Global connection has triggered a fear that has created deeper connections to race, religion, gender and borders – building walls that isolate us from our current social reality. We are all connected, yet this connection is ironically making us disconnected.
Every place has a story, each religion has a face of love, each person tells a different story that reflects the same thing. How do we build a common thread in a world set on ideals rather than reality?
“Is this love?” is a documentary art project following artist Kate Hollett & her team team as they crisscross the globe in search of a common connection. This video web series is a compendium of stories, faces and feelings from diverse parts of the world, where individuals share emotionally to the camera in their own language.
Each location is a story made of many stories affected by social and media experiences. Voice-over and text will fill in the whole story of each place adding the context and effects, and core issues. The camera will follow the process. The tension comes from the vulnerability of its participants. Sometimes there are invitations for coffee, hugs, tears, sometimes someone spits, and sometimes you are threatened. The result always ends up revealing pain, separation, disconnection.
“I’m lovin it” McDonald’s
“is This Love?” – It is not sweet or romantic. It is subversive. It’s a slow build made up of mini stories meant to shake your ideas of the other, feel the loss of humanness and crave for something more.
In the past 14 years, Kate has filmed people from North America, Europe, the U.K. and the Middle East saying the words “I Love You” in their language, to whomever they wish to say it to. Her work has provoked a range of emotional reactions including joy, sadness, anger, hatred, paranoia, fear and rage. The work is straightforward yet the reaction to it has been nothing but. The original film was Best of Show at MONA Art Video Awards in Detroit and played at the L.A. Short Film Festival. At each showing, the audience would react, calling out from the dark, or coming up and sharing a story. At the same time, the concept has been co-opted by a cult, a language school and stolen for profit. Love is easily used and abused.
The current “I Love You” videos feature more than 2,500 people from all over the world, a testimony to the effects of words and feeling. Those simple yet complex words bring a universe of emotions.
Could art act as a bridge? The process changed course with dramatically unexpected results.
It was in the Middle East, Kate was faced with questions about identity and love. Does love have a border?
Originally cut to include both Israelis and Palestinians, the Tel Aviv/Jenin video triggered an international crisis among NGO”s and Palestinians. Palestinians felt they would be perceived as loving “the other,” putting them in danger of retribution. I faced personal threats and legal action.
And yet, this film was by far, the most emotionally expressive work to date. The faces beamed with warmth and love. People giggled and smiled… they expressed a vast understanding of what love meant to them individually.
When we feel hatred, do we also feel the reverse – love – as strongly? Is it true that in the face of loss, love is felt more intensely? Is love born of fear?
Kate and her team will crisscross the globe asking people to share their feelings and stories of love and loss starting with simply saying “I Love You” into the lens. The two-camera production will film both the person’s face and the wider interaction between the individual, and the moments and aftermath of expressing love.
The juxtaposition of the close-up versus the wide-angle shots will reveal the bigger perspective of reaction and counter-reaction; this project will feature the stories behind the emotional expression.
The videos will also include anything that happens during our shoots: if the production encounters problems in each environment, or if someone decides to criticize us for even attempting to film this, we are, overall, being transparent about the consequences of the project wherever we go.
In this epic journey, the team will parachute into at least 25 cities, towns and villages in the search for the meaning of love globally.
The project is a multi-media platform using video, interactive online video and web content. There will be three parts.
- EMOTE (Declaration) – “I love you” videos from each of the 25 locations. Straight-to-camera.
- LOCATE (Place in time) – The stories, the context around each of these declarations i.e. the aftermath, the situation, the “what happens next” from each of the 25 locations.
- GENERATE (Engage) – The third part of the project involves an interactive website where people from anywhere in the world can add to the collection and share with others.
- People can watch, share and react to each of the videos, either by comment, story or recording their own online video.
- By creating their own video playlist the viewer can cross-pollinate different political, economic and social environments as well as having access to all the “context” videos in which the team may encounter authorities, difficult individuals or logistical problems.
This project extends to create a truly comprehensive web project in which the audience will be able to toggle back and forth between videos and locations and then, eventually piece together their own “documentary on love,” on the website itself.