I sometimes jokingly say that I started Luv ’til it Hurts for Elton John. Well, it’s true. I was going through a particularly hard time last year, feeling sorry for myself due to a series of ‘roadblocks’– personally, professionally, creatively … existentially. I had the chance to make a new work (as one had just finished) and happened to read Activism Changed Elton John. Then Elton John Changed the World (The Advocate) and Elton John and Darren Walker on Race, Sexual Identity and Leaving the Past Behind (NYT). Both articles discuss the turning point(s) that had Sir Elton John devote his enormous prestige and energy to making and sustaining the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Given that this all happened at once—reading these articles and starting Luv ’til it Hurts–and given that LUV is an idea with a ‘business plan’ for engaging artists around HIV ever since it first tickled my imagination, proceeds and systems resulting from the overall project, with its two-year focus in three acts, are dedicated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
LUV is an ‘open work‘ and therefore, I do not plan every single activity. Independent partners (artists, activists and organizations) come into the project and may radically change its course. I hold it steady for two years, both creating part of its work myself and producing that of others around the general themes of HIV and stigma. I may set some of its objectives independently as well. Whereas ‘the game‘ came from an organic design process that took place in Port Said (Egypt) in March 2019, planned to address a design flaw or oversight I perceived at the project’s 10-month mark, the ‘business plan’ that we’ll reveal in February 2020 on Valentine’s Day, is a concept that I will carry through and personally deliver at the project’s end-date around July 2020. I have the prerogative of setting the pace of the project in relation to its duration (again, see Why Make an ‘Open Work’?), and also typically plan an afterlife for the project and what it has achieved. What I mean is that I don’t ‘stop on a dime’ in July 2020, and the more I make these type of projects, the more interested I am in their afterlives and basically if I can aim or direct a project’s momentum to a third-party organization or cause in tandem with the artwork’s expiration. I can therefore hint that ACT II has a watershed moment on/around Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020 and goes through July. ACT III will begin at the project’s end, in July and has no designated end-date. The audience can determine if and how it ends. ACT I is ending already (detailed here) and blurring into ACT II.