I love my family, I love to run with an ocean view while listening to a good playlist, I love laughing, I love to sleep in and wake up to the sound of birds chirping, I love sitting in a cozy sofa while reading a good book, I love my dog, I love homemade thick tortilla chips with guacamole, I love cycling the Hana highway, I love nature.
Everyday, everywhere, everyone seeks, desires, and even fears love. Music, literature, paintings, film, opera, poetry, psychology, and philosophy – love is everywhere. Since the beginnings of humanity people have sought an understanding of love, also to define, quantify, solidify, brand, package, and sell love.
With a polysemous nature, Love is a word that expresses an overwhelming sense of desire, sensuality, inspiration, and ambiguity. Love–how is it one word conveys such varied nuance? Its meaningfulness pertains to a matter of both volume and intensity. I have heard there are over one hundred ways to express “you” in the Japanese language depending on the region, time, relationship between those conversing, and the social context. Yet, we only have one word for all of love. One word to express the love of nation, spiritual love, platonic love, brotherly love, forbidden love, and passionate love.
- Dosso Dossi, Mythological Scene c.1524. Image courtesy of http://www.getty.edu
Philosopher’s have a long-standing dialectic debate between Eros love (ego driven) and agape love (altruistic). Love fills our minds and is felt in our body, it is both rational and passionate. Allusive and alluring, love never ceases to be written about. Some great minds have analyzed and intellectualized love: Simon May, Denis De Rougemont, Roland Barthes, and Robert Solomon, to name a few. Yet, even with all these great minds, love still remains mysterious. Love beckons one into a dream world of imagination. Love, ever changing with multiple open-ended meanings.
Alas! Love is everywhere and yet everyone is looking for it. Why do so many people feel loneliness? Why is divorce increasingly common? Advertisers, moviemakers, and even journalists entice us with promises of love and sex (many conflate the two). And, it sales! In the nineteenth century, just like today’s internet dating web sites, people paid for classified ads, seeking love. (Check out this blog, which cleverly interprets 19th century classifieds. http://www.advertisingforlove.com/). And, today, Internet dating sites are well populated with hopeful lovelorn souls who advertise and seek love.
Dave Muller, Love, Love, Love, 2011 4parts courtesy of the artist
Dave Muller contemplates life, politics, and humanity through the archives of albums, cassette tapes, and CDs. He captures in his paintings a memory and a history. Art is the cultural recording of our history and Muller sources the musical recording of history and transform this into a visual art form. From past eras, music creates a narration that resonates in our present moment and then recalls us to a nostalgic time. The Beatles, one band of which Muller memorializes in paintings, sang many songs about love. For many, they are the signifier for love. And, Yoko and John symbolize that loving feeling that couples experience, imagine and idealize.
Annie Leibovitz photo courtesy of en.wilipedia.org
“Open” by Julianne Swartz, a sculpture which is a box containing three treasured words “ I Love You”. Upon opening the box, I, the viewer (now, an active participant) cross a boundary of ‘looking’ at art; questioning and wondering if I might be violating a taboo of touching art. Hearing the words “I Love You” I question if I am invading some privacy, and I wonder whom the words are meant for. I doubt they are for me, or are they? These three words everyone wants to hear as reassurance they are loved in this world, but if they are said too lightly, they become doubted and mistrusted. We bring our own insecurities about loving and being loved to the box. The box is closed and the words carry with us as we question whether we are comforted, confident, or confused with love.
Indulge in your passions. Love. Turn up the volume!
In the end one loves desires and not what is desired. – Friedrich Nietzsche