Installation detail from Love Disorder, 2008
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LOVE DISORDER is a one-room interactive environment, in which a video character talks to visitors and responds emotionally to their movements in the space. When you enter, you see a twelve-foot-high face on a video screen at the far end of the room. The face says: “I’ve been waiting for you” – or one of several other greetings. He'll continue talking to you if you don’t move, but the emotional tone of what he says will change as you step closer to the screen, or turn away. This manipulative character uses a gamut of emotional ploys to stimulate your movement within the space. He knows if you’re coming or going, and the range of his response is varied and complex enough that most people find themselves interacting as if directly addressed.
Love Disorder initiates a surprisingly personal connection with the viewer. There is a give-and-take that mirrors actual interpersonal rapport but at the same time raises questions about the fragile human relationship with computers.
Love Disorder, 2008, video documentation, 2:55
In his 2009 curatorial essay for the exhibition catalog for Superlight, Steve Dietz wrote:
“Not every issue is what we might think of as a serious global issue, although it may resonate emotionally with people worldwide. Bruce Charlesworth’s Love Disorder is like a glitchy iPod playing back a reality TV version of a dysfunctional relationship. A huge projected video character (Charlesworth) intensely expresses his conflicting and uncertain feelings about anyone who enters the room, reacting to visitors’ proximity with an abruptly changing, deeply neurotic display of emotions ranging from loneliness and longing to fear, anger, blame and regret. A video artist with an abiding interest in narrative, emotion and interactivity, Charlesworth evokes an archetypal litany of raw emotions triggered by the audience’s movements through the interactive environment. Love Disorder can also be seen as a parable for our fraught and needy relationship with technology, particularly at the human-machine interface.”
Love Disorder was made with the help of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Commissioned for Superlight, the 2008 Zero1 Biennial Exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, it traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art – Cleveland and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009-10. Programming: Christopher Baker, Artist Advisory & Assistance: Colleen Ludwig, Studio & On-Site Assistance, San Jose: Josh Gumiela, Additional Programming & Assistance, Milwaukee/Madison: Greg Surges, Studio Assistance, Milwaukee/Madison: Kate Brandt