In the wake of the September 11th attacks, we not only lost 2,996 New Yorkers, but we also lost many freedoms. Neighbors suddenly became strangers, vulnerability replaced security, hate crimes ensued and trust eluded us. In many ways, the wounds of 9/11/01 are still very much alive. At the same time, in 2001 and today, many New Yorkers have come together in great acts of courage and kindness and people from all over the world have poured support into the city.
Love911 is a multilingual, multicultural and multidimensional social installation and art project propelled to create a more loving, connected New York City and world! We seek to tap into the human kindness and caring that emerged so powerfully in the days following 9/11 and remind New Yorkers and our friends around the world of our interconnectedness. In a city that is so often divided by race, class, politics, anonymity, and disconnection, we want to provide opportunities for individuals and groups to reflect, reconnect, engage in vibrant, respectful dialogue and entirely new ways of being.
One of the questions we frequently are asked is: How do we define love? We understand that love is a very personal experience and is also often shaped by our cultural, religious and social experiences. While there is no “one definition” of love, here is our working understanding, one that extends beyond the binary of romantic and platonic love:
Love is a frequently exploited term that means many different things to many different people. We understand love and loving acts to be an ever-changing phenomenon that expresses a range of experiences, memories, emotions, sensations, desires, longings, fantasies, realities, dreams, and hopes in such words as: gratitude, forgiveness, determination, passion, compassion, trust, support, kindness, care-giving, care receiving, comfort, interconnectedness, commitment, and more. At its very essence, love is a commitment to relating to oneself and others with a sense of deep kindness, caring and curiosity. Of course, love and kindness aren’t always unicorns and lollipops! Indeed, love has the capacity to hold within its many folds hatred, mistrust, dehumanization, denigration, pain, anxiety, discomfort, frustration cruelty, suffering and tragedy just as much as it does all the “good” or positive attributes we commonly associate with the term love. We believe that love, when paired with an active community, has the power to create, bring justice, heal, humanize, instill peace, and transcend boundaries.
How do you define love? What are your experiences?