Letters to Intimate Strangers was a site-specific piece for the Carnegie Public Library in Oakland, Pittsburgh. For the piece I actively fell in love with someone once a day. That person could be anyone and anywhere. Partly what I was interested in was that semiotic frenzy of the lover — where every interaction is rife with possible interpretations/misinterpretations. But I was also interested in the type of emotional labor this daily ritual would involve. Thinking of each falling in love session as a kind of deep-acting play, I started them with a series of “what if” propositions. What if their words meant everything to me? What if I was waiting for the slightest look or touch? What if their eyelashes could crush me?
I wrote a love letter to each of these strangers. These letters were then given to one of the librarians who pulled two words out of each letter and gave them call numbers according to subject. They were then put into circulations in the stacks.