project: Situations

SITUATION is a definition of art: Installation + Action.
The space as well as the interaction is constructed.  With in the frame of public intimacy, intimate’s nature and unusual contacts and communications between strangers takes place in a public arena. Privacy is preserved by anonymity.


Jana Leo
ISCP- 323 West 39th St. Studio 711
New York. 2004-5


Flyers were handed out in Times Square inviting strangers to a nearby studio where several writers were on hand to write love letters for them.

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You can download some of the letters here:










There were three writers were waiting in my studio to write letters. One was Bonnie Downing. She have wrote a great article I Was A Love-Letter Ghostwriter

For Valentine’s Day, why not team up with a professional writer who can help you write a love letter to whomever you want for free? Artist Jana Leo de Blas thought up The Love Letters project, which pairs everyday people off the street with modern-day Cyranos. Studio 360’s Ave Carrillo visited with the Love Letter Project and brought back an audio portrait.

I Was A Love-Letter Ghostwriter – The Awl.pdf

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I Was A Love-Letter Ghostwriter – The Awl.pdf

Later on the letters were shown either projecting one by one in an opaque projector or having copies printed.

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What Are Words For
I Was A Love-Letter Ghostwriter
by Bonnie Downing January 29, 2014

Nine years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist and was hired by artist Jana Leo de Blas. Jana was a tiny woman of indeterminable age with a dandelion puff of hair. I arrived at her bright, high-ceilinged studio in the old I.S.C.P. building in midtown Manhattan; she had built a platform in the middle of the room. I climbed the few steps, settled at the desk with my laptop and coffee and tried to remember some poetry to quote in case I choked. That morning was the start of a weekend of open studios, but Jana wanted to be sure we didn’t limit ourselves to visiting art fans, so she left me there and took to the streets with invitations.

Her piece was called the Love Letter Project, and my first client, a middle-aged man, seemed game in the way that people get during open studio events. I saw Jana’s point. He sat down across the desk from me, and pursed his lips, humming around for an idea.

“Who do you love?” I asked. He laughed.

“Does it have to be a romantic love?”

“No,” I said.

“Well, I have an idea,” he said. “My son is leaving for college soon, and I’d like to write a letter to his mother, my ex-wife.” He was proud of how they had managed co-parenting, though they had both remarried. He was glad they remained close friends. I took notes as he spoke. This was an easy start, more of a friendly note really. “I worry that our connection takes away from what I have with my new wife.” He began to cry. “I still love her,” he said. He wished they had never divorced.

I listened until he was finished talking. Then I arranged the sentences he’d spoken on the page. It was more like transcribing than writing:


Dear Mimi,

I love you as much as the day I met you though I have moved on.  Of course, we both have.  I am so glad that you are with someone who loves you so much and who makes you so happy.

We are so connected through E. and I deeply appreciate the access to you sharing a son provides.  It means so much to talk to you about him, and about our separate relationships with S. and J.; about everything deeply personal.

When Eric’s grown, I know we may be less and I feel very sad about that.

S. celebrates our love for our son and our closeness as parents.  But I worry sometimes that our connection takes away from Susan and I.  I know it does.  It’s hard.

I’ve worked it out and I haven’t worked it out.  It will always be there and in some ways I want it to be.  The way I cling to you.

I will never in my life not regret that we didn’t work things out

I will never let go.  I don’t want to.

Love always,


At the front of the room was a small table with a printer, envelopes, pens and stamps. “You may sign your letter,” Jana told him and he did. “Would you like a stamp so you can mail it? Or we can mail it for you.” He took the stamp and addressed the envelope, but wasn’t quite committed enough to let us mail it. His feelings had been so close to the surface. We had happened to catch him at the perfect moment.

But it kept happening like that….

Bonnie Downing haunts Brooklyn and Twitter @bonnie_downing. Jana Leo de Blas holds the copyright to The Love Letter Project and the content of the letters above. More about Jana and her current projects is here. Ave Carillo produced a piece on the project for Studio 360.

Please visit also:

La Oficina Del Amor, an art project commissioned by the Cervantes Institute. The “Love Office” is a “virtual archive of words to assist personal relationships. This is a support tool that helps to write an ad (for) those unskilled in handling the language of love.”


DISPLACED LOUNGE is a resting spot  located close to public
transportation facility (The New York Port Authority Bus Terminal) that doesn’t have a
quality lounge area for waiting and resting.



A literal  blind date in which the two individuals are blind folded and eating. This taste-room offers a  constructed atmosphere for an eating ceremony between two strangers.

The “act of eating” involves four levels: ritual, social, nutritional and sensory. A typical restaurant focuses on taste (sensory) and a setting for interaction (social). Less attention is paid to the chemical and physical consequences (nutritional) of the food and even less to the atmosphere, time, sequence, position (ritual). In contrast, this room, while marking the difference among these elements, gives priority to the ritual and sensory elements over the atmosphere and taste.

Tasteroom or with no table.pdf

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“Edible pieces” are served.
Special attentions: really tasty, slightly twisted. The selection of this delicatessen is based on conceptual difference; eating and nutrition are two  different things; eating involves ritual, social interaction, sensory stimulation -visual, taste selective; the nutritional benefit or formula. The edible pieces are constructed by reducing very food to a chemical formula of water and oil. Like Water and oil, female and male mix only for a moment.

blinddatesequence Blind_ate.pdf

Being a ritual, the small pieces of matter – food – that one puts into the mouth are agents of change: the necessary matter that will produce some kind of transformation, enhanced by the form. One sample are the chocolate roses.

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