What Is Love, Baby Don’t Hurt Me

What Is Love, Baby Don’t Hurt Me

A Tinder profile for Jack, Leonardo DiCaprio's character in "Titanic"
A Tinder profile for Rose, Kate Winslet's character in "Titanic"
Screenshot of a chat between Jack and Rose: Rose insists that she does not remember Jack, while Jack sends her iconic stills from the film to jog her memory.
A chat between Jack and Rose: Rose insists that she does not remember Jack, even after he sends her a still of them on the deck of the Titanic, arms outstretched as Jack hugs Rose.
Jack tells Rose that he would die for her, but Rose states that she wasn't paying much attention. Jack promises he will never give up.

I love love, and I consider myself a hopeless romantic and an idealist to the tenth degree. In some ways I think everyone is fascinated with love. It would seem silly to think that love isn’t something that crosses people’s minds often. I feel as if love has been an enduring facet of culture throughout all of history, but as we dive deeper into the 21st century, it seems harder to define what love actually means, nevertheless what it means for ourselves as individuals.

I stumbled upon this idea for this project when my mind wandered to the letters “XX.” These are the letters that are frequently used by Europeans to convey feelings of amiability and love. They can be anything from friendly to flirty, and they are my second go to when I’m tired of sending the kissy face emoji.

This has been on my mind partially because I want to get a tattoo, and partially because those are the letters that I want tattooed on me. They are also the letters that I will probably never get tattooed on me because I’m too chicken to paint my body with permanent ink.

My intention was to make this piece humorous, but I also wanted it to make the viewer think, in some way, about what their preconceived notions about love are. Everyone views love in a different way and I wanted to the viewer think about what love really means for them.

I was inspired by a quote from one of Flaubert’s letters, “You ask for love, but you complain that I don’t send you flowers.”

Flowers, the enduring symbol of a man’s affection. What can convey my feelings for you clearer than a bouquet of flowers? Probably nothing.

Often times I feel like it seems as if we try to define love in these terms. Sometimes we see love as something that only exists when it follows an action. Other times it just exists.

Sometimes, it demands an action.

Where does the act of love come in when Noah wrote Allie 365 letters in The Notebook? Was it captured in the moment when he was writing the letters themselves? Did his feelings for her disappear because she wasn’t able to read his letters? To Allie, probably.

I came up with the idea of using images from the movie Titanic to create a social media love story for the main characters of the movie, Rose and Jack, because I recognized their story as one fairly iconic love story. I was inspired by the social media accounts of different couples and how they share their stories of love on their social media accounts. I had originally told Rose and Jack’s story through Instagram, but it didn’t seem to get my ideas across as I had wanted to, so instead I told their story through the infamous app, Tinder. 

I’m fascinated by how we as a culture define love, how we view ourselves within the paradigm of love, and even what the paradigm of love actually is.

Why do we “like” things? Why do we “heart” things? Does love mean swiping right? Does it mean holding the door for someone who has their hands full?

Maybe it’s all of those things. Maybe we can’t define it.

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