The I Love You Institute is an artist-led site-specific project urgently working with communities to creatively address today’s world. We combine art making, social justice, radical kindness, and relational listening to normalize saying “I Love You” as an alternative to division and conflict.
As a new initiative the aim of the I Love You Institute is to facilitate a series of events that emphasizes connecting with each other through the co-creation of art using relational exchange & creative dialogue. As a nomadic, nimble initiative, the I Love You Institute works in a variety of community sites--public & private. Using established & new networks and focusing on health & wellness, we create one-off events, performances & interventions. Each site is developed & produced as a site-specific experience, working in collaboration with the hosting partners. Intentionally open-ended, the events are responsive to the public & each site.
The idea is to create spaces for individual connection & creativity with a focus on healing. To do this we’ll be reaching out to all populations, possibly those who feel marginalized, welcoming all to participate in the creation of an art piece or pieces together. This offers participants an opportunity to respond to our world through an act of love & connection.
The aim of the I Love You Institute is to facilitate a series of events that emphasizes connecting with each other through creative dialogue. We are action-oriented. We embrace the tension found within conflict and messiness of the world we live in. We will offer participants an opportunity to respond to our world through an act of love and connection. We will support the idea of self care as an act of resistance and for ourselves to be truly seen and heard through an art experience. “The world currently sits in an epoch of change, of division, of conflict. More than ever we need to say and hear I Love You,” Anne Labovitz. The intention will be to create a quiet space in the contemporary sociopolitical storm to connect one-on-one.
The genesis of the Institute came from the reciprocal connections and exchanges honed through artist interviews in 122 Conversations, Labovitz’s 2012-2019 project. The I Love You Institute is embedded in both short-term, one-off person-to-person interventions as well as long-term relationships with organizations. The foundation is a framework and process based on Martin Bruer’s I Thou philosophy of dialogue. Written in 1923, Buber’s I and Thou (Ich und Du, 1923) presents a philosophy of personal dialogue, in that it describes how personal dialogue can define the nature of reality. Buber’s major theme is that human existence may be defined by the way in which we engage in dialogue with each other and with the world.
The process is open and dialogical. We can work with specific venues to construct the interventions. The artist will be on site, a site that can be altered but will constitute at least two seats and a common, shared table, Labovitz will engage the participant in dialogue. Active and engaged listening will be employed, and simple and straightforward questions will be asked. The idea is to create space for individual connection and creativity.
The Institute is sited in St Paul, Minnesota, but includes local, regional, national, and international contexts. As a nomadic initiative, the I Love You Institute can be set up in a variety of sites. Using established and new networks, the artist and producers will organize to host a number of events, performances, interventions, classes, and networking experiences. Each site will be developed and produced as a site-specific experience, working in collaboration with the hosting partners. An intentional process, the I Love You Institute will focus on building alliances rather than just partnerships.