2 years ago
caricakes
in English · 2,272 Views
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What Happens When A Relationship Isn't Physical
If you're anything like me, it's difficult to be around anyone for an extended amount of time.
Even one of my closest friends since I was 12 and I have talked about how we can never live together because we can barely have a successful sleepover without getting on each others nerves at least once (I love you Olivia!)
So the thought of spending an entire year of my life connected to someone with an 8-foot rope is probably the closest definition of hell I can think of.
But that's what two artists, Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh, did in 1983.

Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh:

Art/Life: One Year Performance 1983-1984 (Rope Piece).


365 days, one 8ft rope, and strict rules to have zero physical contact.
Meant to be an exploration on the meaning of freedom, I thought more about the importance of getting to know someone and the influence of a physical relationship.
If you've ever been in a long distance relationship, you know that 1. it sucks and 2. you find yourself talking about things that normally wouldn't come up if you were talking face to face.
It's almost like the inability to share your love physically (even something as simple as holding the other's hand) makes us want to create that feeling with our words. We share parts of ourselves we wouldn't normally share, we breach subjects that wouldn't necessarily come up, we connect (or find out we can't connect) on a completely different level.
The physical part of a relationship is important, but that deep connection that's so often not thought about (or, the connection that people think it will just somehow come about naturally) is what will keep a relationship strong.
Now, I'm not suggesting you and your boo tie yourself together for a year cause that sounds like a HORRIBLE idea, but perhaps ask yourself how well you know the person you're lying next to.

If you were stripped of all physical contact with them, what would happen? Would it rip your relationship apart or bring you that much closer?

So how did Linda and Tehching feel after a year?
...

From a 1984 interview:

Q: Now that you’ve been tied together for almost a year, how do you feel about each other?
TH: I think Linda is the most honest person I’ve known in my life and I feel very comfortable to talk—to share my personality with her. That’s enough. I feel that’s pretty good. We had a lot of fights and I don’t feel that is negative. Anybody who was tied this way, even if they were a nice couple, I’m sure they would fight, too. This piece is about being like an animal, naked. We cannot hide our negative sides. We cannot be shy. It’s more than just honesty—we show our weakness.
LM: Tehching is my friend, confidant, lover, son, opponent, husband, brother, playmate, sparring partner, mother, father, etc. The list goes on and on. There isn’t one word or one archetype that fits. I feel very deeply for him.
No one can ever understand another person completely, but trying their best to understand as much as possible and respecting the fact that they'll ever know anyone fully is, in my opinion, the most incredible thing a couple can do.
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4 comments
I think it's one of the ultimate test of a relationship -- finding out if it will survive when there is a disconnect of physical contact. It's really, really hard. I think we are supposed to have physical contact. Body language, eye-contact, the little things we do -- it sometimes communicate more strongly than any words can. I've tried long distance, god it was hard. And it failed. The whole rope thing -- I don't think I could ever do that lol. As humans, I think we also need our personal space. We need human contact, but we also need solitude.
This is so cool. I don't necessarily agree that a relationship should be able to be stripped down to zero physical contact to be proven worthwhile or powerful, but in any case, this is a really really cool project. So they were lovers before they started, right? That must have made it that much more difficult, I bet...
Years ago I had a 3 year long distance relationship. It can work but some physical contact is needed. Intense experiment there, would definitely be up for doing that :P
Wow, this is so cool. I can't imagine how difficult this must have been. There's an emotional exhaustion that accompanies being around the same person for too long – but for an entire year? Wow.