my life with john [2002]

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correspondence project in collaboration with erla haraldsdóttir .

collaboration in which we sent each other "exercises" based on systems and patterns that we kept from each other. each exercise was to be executed and documented by the other. the result was exhibited at a group exhibition hvalreki (my body is over the ocean —the sea) in the swedish art center alma löv.

text by halldór björn runólfsson from the exhibition catalogue:

“erla haraldsdöttir and daniela franco met at the san francisco art institute in 1997 and have kept in touch since then. last fall they started working on a collaboration. my life with john is the result of their exchange and process.

being as far apart as they could 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 trough which they exchange "assignments" periodically. [click here to continue reading]

as one gave the other a list of tasks 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, write and 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 or 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 favourite songs" while daniela's were based on the listings from expired american tv guides.

the results of their exchanges are presented in "my life with john", including video, still images, text and sound. the show is formed actually by documentation of the actual pieces (i.e. the performance of the task) and it 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 swedish opening”.