Thursday, 17 February 2011

Unlucky in Love

The second event in our current series on Love took place last Sunday on Brighton Pier. Gathering in the Victoria Bar, nestled among the slot machines and games of the arcades, visitors were invited to consider the nature of our titled event, Unlucky in Love.

Upon arrival, individuals engaged with the concept of chance and the role that it might play within love as they threw darts at polystyrene figures, aiming for a bullseye within the heart targets. Around the room, various stations were assembled according to The 5 Love Languages identified and described by author Gary Chapman.

The first station focussed on Words of Affirmation, presenting people with a series of upturned cards. Some cards had written on them a word deeply rooted in what we understand to be an example of love, others had words of the direct opposite. The challenge was to find a pair by picking two cards up on each turn, the process of which proved increasingly more thought provoking than the words in question.

Elsewhere, Quality Time was well and truly experienced as visitors were invited to take two minutes for themselves, by fitting some headphones with calm, ambient music and an eye mask as they settled into a big comfy sofa. Some resurfaced considerably later than others, given the novelty it clearly was for them.

Whilst reflecting on Receiving Gifts, people at this station had the opportunity to make a present for someone else by icing and decorating a biscuit. Rather than focussing entirely on how we prefer to receive love ourselves, the gift-making encouraged us to think about those who need us to show them what love is.

The act of showing love usually involves giving something of ourselves. Often it is a gamble, sometimes even a risk. We thought about this at the Acts Of Service station,
where there was a chance to fill out a 'promise cheque,' for someone known to us; a sort of I.O.U, whether that be the resolution to make someone a cup of tea every day for
a week, or something a little more challenging.

For some, Physical Touch is a necessity not just a luxury. Two of our team were offering hand-massages to those exploring this. If nothing else, they went away smelling sweetly of coconuts and almonds.

To finish with, everyone was able to complete the love language quiz in
order to discern their own personal and preferred way of receiving love. Developing a heightened awareness of different peoples' unique acknowledgments of love challenged us as to how we might respond accordingly. Each person left with a valentines card and in it, a poignant excerpt from 1 John. This message about the source of our love served as a powerful reminder, enabling us to place into valuable context what we had considered that evening;

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
We love because he first loved us.

On 27th February, join us at The Brunswick for the next event in our series, an open discussion on love.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Unconditional Love

Our love season began this Sunday with a look at Unconditional Love in an unconventional way.

The theme came about because one of our team spotted a graffiti wall in north central Brighton with those exact words (see it being created here). We used it for our promotional postcard image this time and it sparked a whole series of ideas which we're going to explore in our next three events.

Unconditional Love was our first attempt at a guerilla style evening and we asked people to come to the graffiti ready for an urban journey. Behind this meeting place is a concrete multistorey car park and we set up a number of installations in the space which itself was covered in graffiti. Everyone who turned up was invited to explore the space while asking themselves the question "is this unconditional love".

In one corner there was a Rob Bell video loop all about the different kinds of love in the Old Testament, across from this was some love neon with a haunting audio loop of the song "Jesus blood never failed me yet".

In the middle of the whole space were two perfect human figurines which surprised us by dancing around wildly in the wind despite our best efforts to anchor them. This installation invited people to think about the qualities that they like in a person and those that we dislike and write these on ticks or crosses which were then pinned to the figures. On various surfaces and expanses of concrete were long ribbons of poetry or quotes from the Bible about love.

Beyond team members showed their commitment to our cause by acting the balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet or playing the part of rough sleepers who find solace in each other and the poetry of the Song of Songs. After half an hour of this we headed away, under the kissing sculpture which is situated in this area to the Circus Circus pub to warm up, have a drink and discuss what we'd all seen and experienced.

Our next exploration of love is only 2 weeks away on St. Valentine's Eve. Our venue is amongst all the slot machine and games of chance on Brighton Pier in the Victoria Bar and is entitled Unlucky in Love.