May 18, 2077

by Anna Clark

Making friends as a kid was easy. Making friends as an adult is hard. You’d think with our abundant supply of “social media” we’d be more social and less lonely. But we aren’t. The digital media we consume makes us anxious and anti-social, pushes us into bubbles, makes us feel like we’re failing at life, and disconnects us from what makes us human. We are social beings. We need community. We need physical connection. We need purpose.

What if a handmade object connected people to other people — to strangers they may not otherwise meet. What if “social media” was physical media that linked humans around the world and was a catalyst for social interaction. Not only in the present but as time goes on linking people to the past and the future. That is my vision for this work of art — LLLinked uses ink to link people both digitally and physically. And because it is being disassembled as it’s being created, it can only physically exist if owners choose to meet in person and build it together.

On the back of every LLLinked square is a message from me that asks the owner (if they’re able) to journey to Iowa City on May 18, 2077 and every 10 years thereafter, meet other LLLinked owners and bring it to life. And as time goes on, to pass their square forward to a loved one so that LLLinked continues to link people to the past, in the present, and to the future. Who knows how many people will actually do this. Maybe a handful. Maybe thousands. But the thought of complete strangers choosing to meet, creating something together and possibly forming a friendship is magical and beautiful to me. It gives my life a little bit of purpose.

I believe in the power of traveling to connect people.
I believe in the power of eating together to connect people.
I believe in the power of art to connect people.

For those who do follow through and choose to make the journey to Iowa City, my hope is that they have a peaceful one, unencumbered by human-made borders, conflicts, and laws. That they build however much of LLLinked that they can and document the experience. And afterwards, that they sit down and share a meal together. Tell personal stories and listen to others stories. Be human on a planet that hopefully hasn’t lost its humanity.

P.S. I was born in Iowa City on May 18, 1977. So May 18, 2077 would be my 100th birthday. I am not special. But I needed to pick a perpetual date and location for owners to meet and that was the most logical choice because it linked the art to the story.