Erla Haraldsdóttir and Daniela Franco met at the Art Institute in 1997 and have kept in touch since then. Last fall they started working on a collaboration. My Life With John is their exchange and process.
Being as far apart as they possibly be (Daniela living in Mexico and Erla in Iceland) they integrated their distance as part of the piece. Combining the idea of having someone else decide the outcome of your piece, as Erla has done in previous work, with the idea of creating through constrains and restrictions as present in most of Daniela's body of work, they came up with a system through which they exchange ”assignments” periodically”.
As one gave the other a list of task to perform and document, the other did so by interpreting and documenting the assignment as she pleased. The assignments were random and variated. For example: repeat the tone ”A” 23 times and make a rhythm out of it, send a letter (personifying a teenager) to the latin american singer Chayanne, find a street address number 6. Make a creature that is a mixture of an alien and an angel, pay someone to translate the word ”news” to spanish.
Behind each list of assignments was a system that each artist followed and that the other was not aware of. Erla’s tasks were based on her ”all time favorite songs” while Daniela’s were based on the listings from expired american tv guides.
The result of their exchanges are presented in ”My Life With John”, including video, still images, text and sounds. The show is formed by documentation of the actual pieces (i.e. the performance of the task) and is currently up at the alma Löv Museum in Sweden.
Incidentally, Erla and Daniela hadn’t seen each other since the first time they met. They planned and developed the entire piece through e-mail and met finally at the Almalöv opening.
Alma löv, 7/6/ 2001