Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Learning to Love You More - for Kids

Launched in 2002, the Learning to Love You More project is both a web site archive (it's no longer actively archiving) and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to 70 assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. In 2005, I saw the LLYM show at Bumbershoot and was impressed by these ordinary yet odd, sincere, lovely and goofy responses. Completely inspiring, raw and full of humanity. I did a few of the assignments after seeing the show (take a flash photo under your bed), but lost steam soon after (my results felt shallow and lackluster). I came across the site again recently and thought these assignments would be excellent summer projects for the kids. 

Here are 10 assignments I'm asking the kids to try:

Assignment #1 Make a neighborhood field recording.
Go from door to door and ask at least four neighbors to sing a song or play one on an instrument. Record their song. Also take a photograph of each neighbor, sitting or standing in their home or yard, with their instrument, if they played one. Give each piece an audio caption: "Sam Looly, my neighbor to the right." You can add information that you think is pertinent, but never forget that you are a professional and do not steal the show with your own antics. Your job is to catalogue the songs of your neighbors.

Assignment #2
Photograph a scar and write about it
Photograph a scar on your body or on someone else's body. Make it a close-up shot so that it shows just the scar. Include a story about how the scar happened.

Assignment #3
Take a picture of the sun
Take a picture of the sun. Just a picture of the sun, nothing extra or fancy. Please make sure the sun is visible in the photo, we won't accept reflections of the sun or photos where the sun is not visible. Please be careful not to look directly at the sun through your camera's viewfinder; looking directly at the sun could damage your eyes. If you need to, just point the camera towards the sun and shoot the photo.

Assignment #4
Make a video of someone dancing
Make a video of someone dancing to DJ Brokenwindow's Don't Dream It's Over dance mix. We asked DJ Brokenwindow to make a dance mix of "Don't Dream It's Over" (by Crowded House.) 

Assignment #5
Act out someone else's argument
Choose an argument and act it out with a friend or relative. Memorize your lines and make it as real as possible. When you are ready, videotape the argument. This can be done with the camera on a tripod, or with a third person shooting. It should be shot as simply as possible. Make sure the voices of both people can be heard clearly. Do not shoot any titles or credits, only the argument itself

Assignment #6
Take a picture of your parents kissing
Take a picture of your parents kissing (or at least hugging). Do not send us an older picture of your parents, we are looking for a new picture taken specifically for this assignment.

Assignment #7
Describe your ideal government
Describe in a paragraph or two how your ideal government would function.

Assignment #8
Give advice to yourself in the past
Sure everything turned out ok, but maybe you should have quit that job five years earlier, maybe you should have had children when you were 27, maybe you should have flossed, maybe you should have gone to the alternative high school, or not said that thing to your best friend. Tell yourself what to do in clear, specific language. Do not write an essay, make it in list form.

Assignment #9
Make a protest sign and protest
Make a protest sign and publicly protest something that you deeply and sincerely feel needs to be changed. It could be the mistreatment of chickens at KFC or the lack of rights for children in our society. You can protest alone, with a group that you assemble or with a pre-existing protest group.

Assignment #10
Take a family portrait of two families
Go to a park, beach or other public place and locate two separate families who are having a picnic or barbeque. Ask the two families to join together so that you can take a group picture of them. Try to find two families who don't know each other and who look different from each other.

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