Animating Love

Animating Love, Performing Love Festival at Kiasma Museum, Helsinki, Finland (performative animation)
Performance: April 12, 2019

Join The Animator of Love as he heralds the teachings of the Love Foundation’s 5 Pillars. Audience members are invited to discuss and embody the 5 pillars through brief performative encounters. Learn more about the Performing Love event and its charity intentions.

Animator’s Bio: The Animator of Love (Born 21 February 1985) is a nonviolent resistance activist and public figure whose work centers around promoting diverse notions of ‘universal love’. He has been described as a “soothsayer,” “love prophet,” and “guru of love,” amongst other appellations. When the Animator of Love first discovered the Love Foundation (LF) while on exchange as a philosophy student, he was drawn LF’s notion of ‘communal action’ and LF’s focus on ‘providing access to clean water for all human beings’.

After returning home to Los Angeles, the Animator of love attempted to build a LF hub and in so doing organized countless free public workshops and events. His workshops included mindfulness water drinking, universal-bliss meditation sessions and community empowerment coaching. In 2018, he started combining these engagements and designed a game titled ‘Animating Love,’ which centered around the LF’s 5 pillars. Animating Love was first launched at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki in April, 2019.

Explanation:
This one-to-one animation sought to bring to life the 5 pillars of the love foundation through short performative actions spontaneously co-created with audience members.

This was my first attempt to apply my exhibition animation methodology and concept as developed through Learning with Bananas[1] to a space beyond the exhibition format. It was also my first attempt in applying exhibition animation beyond the Canadian cultural context.  In Animating Love, I drew upon gaming elements in order bring the philosophy of the Love Foundation to life.[2] The forms this took, such as the spinning wheel table, “Foundation Wheel”, and playing cards “Collective Action Cards” represent a new development to the animation modality. Up until this time, my previous animation work was more based on props rather than live art gaming mechanics.

‘Performing Love’, a two-day charity festival organised together with Kiasma (The Finnish National Museum of Contemporary Art) sought to explore the following questions: How can art create a culture of love? How to understand and celebrate love as a communal force?

Pursuing these questions, my animation sought to generate a sense of both social agency and collective action in game players. Given that the festival itself embodied a desire to merge the personal with the political, it seemed like a suitable environment for exploring animation as a potential tool for harnessing collective action.

An audience member would spin a gaming wheel which was ordered around the Love Foundation’s  5 pillars: “Universal Love,” “Water For All” “Shared Sustainability,”  “Community Spirit.” and “Joyful Purpose”. The pillar they landed on would then open a pathway of collective discussion.  After listening to a recital of the fated pillar, our discussion would explore our collective thoughts and feelings about the pillars teachings and its relationships to the Performing Love event and its charity intentions. For example, how is community spirit being reflected here at Kiasma in this moment? Following our discussion, the animator and the audience brainstormed ways in which they could bring the pillar to life in the moment. Non-obligatory activities involved a variety of ways to playfully engage with the Love Foundation’s philosophy and activism.

[1] Marzolf, H., Banana, A., 1940, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Open Space Arts Society, & Pratt Institute. Libraries. (2016). The art of A. banana unpeeled: Anna banana : 45 years of fooling around with A. banana. Victoria, British Columbia: Open Space Arts Society.

[2] https://www.love-foundation.org/helsinki/about/