About a year and a half ago, I thought up a simple lesson on installation art to do with some kids I was teaching that ended up being the beginnings of Love is a Radical Act. We hung ceramic hearts in a big walnut tree on a college campus and left them there. Because the focus at the time was just on the different ways installation art functions, I was partly interested in how these hearts, which would be easy enough for someone to pick up and hang somewhere else, would or wouldn’t move from where they were originally hung.
I wasn’t around the campus very much to really see what happened, but there would be hints when I did go back. A few months later, the walnut tree was empty, but a lone heart was hanging on a bush near the parking lot. The next spring, a heart (the same one or a different one?) was hanging on a public bulletin board. (Confession: I took it out of nostalgia – it was one of the originals, and I was the one who made it, after all.)
A year later, this past week, I found another heart hanging on one of the weaving looms. I’m continually surprised and pleased that they haven’t quite disappeared from campus.
Even though Love is a Radical Act is about love and family and all those big, complex ideas, as an artist I’m still interested in how the hearts that get hung eventually migrate to other places. Early on, after just a couple of (he)art bombings, Kelly and I heard that someone had seen one of the hearts sitting inside a frozen yogurt shop – we definitely hadn’t left one there, so someone else did.
A few weeks after our big (he)art bombing trip to Olympia and Seattle, we got an email from a book store owner who thanked us for putting a heart through the mail slot. It was a sweet email, but we didn’t deserve the credit, or at least not all of it. Whether it was a friend of the owner, a faithful customer, or even just some drunk person walking home after midnight, it’s a great example of how the interactive nature of the project means it can change and grow and reach out to new people (in a delightfully positive way, of course).
All this is to say, we love it when we hear about people discovering our hearts hanging somewhere, and we like to imagine them continually moving about from place to place. We always welcome your stories and photos about how you happened upon Love is a Radical Act because through them we can learn what has been happening with our project.