"Through our Love Portraits exhibition, we will invite encounters with those at the show to explore the neuroplasticity of love and human connection. What makes us feel a resonance and oneness in our sensory system with the world, with those around us, and with all humans? What synchronizes us to be able to see and feel others as another me, albeit with a different outer layer?" -- Dr. POE//M
Photographs From the third installment of "the Love Portraits" - Live photoshoot in gallery Art helix - Bushwick Brooklyn - Supported by Shim - actively co-creating awareness-raising initiative together - creating the change we imagine together
The love portraits were born in Chinatown during a meditation. Poe saw a vision of the work with her eyes closed, and turned around to tell J/P, sitting behind her, who then completed it. They decided to make them on the spot, tapping their collective backgrounds of photography, neuroscience, performance art, psychiatry and NYU professor on Love, and have evolved the project from that seedling over the past year into many art shows, performance pieces, and public installations.
In the first series, they set up in front of the oldest tree in Washington Square Park and approached strangers to participate. All but one said yes. These were the instructions given:
Picture someone that you love, feel them in your mind, and then your heart. It can be a lover, a friend, a dog, an old babysitter, a deceased relative—anyone. Once you’ve got them, look straight through the lens as if the person were there and say I love you until you feel it resonating through your whole body.
The portraits are moving images of a psyche unfurling into an expansive love. They animate our barriers to love, and our relationship to these very powerful words, words that become mantras, portals, obstacles: the words I love you. Each person reveals a different relationship not only to love, but also the outward expression of it.
The work itself turned out to have transformational qualities for all involved, and for those who watch them. Drawing from psychologist Beatrice Beebe’s work on attunement of mothers and babies and the neuroscience of mirror neurons, because of the high cellular resonance, the portraits become direct transmitters to others, who attune, as is human nature, and mirror the heart expansion in their own bodies. As Eve Ensler put it, “the next revolution will occur in our bodies.” The love portraits then become their own ever-expanding life cycle, as they are made and felt and watched and remade in the viewers and rippled, one medium in which the invisible forces and physics of love are made visible.