I'll admit that I chose to read Loving Laura more solely based on the title, who doesn't want to love more? But it didn't take much time to become invested in the reading and find myself clicking away to the LTLYM, looking up Laura's story, looking up the videos made about her, and reading about the Olivers and sharing everything with my husband, and dreaming of doing all the assignments (on top of all my school and already existing life assignments).
In any case, I went on to explore the Oswalds and the LTLYM website, including Laura and her story and the videos made about it and scrolling through all the assignments. Some made me feel slightly voyeuristic, like the photograph a significant outfit one, and some really hit a communal chord. My favorite was Assignment #2, make a field recording of your neighborhood. The overall thing that struck me, though, was the multi-level active participation and community building that takes place. The online community, the small neighborhood community and even the small family community. I mean, seriously, I think the Oswalds are about the coolest people out there, taking on a challenge like this as a family.
From a design perspective, or rather an art perspective, it is challenging to come up with things that really are going to impact people and make a difference beyond selling something or making a nice looking piece of art. It is getting beyond aesthetics and thinking bigger, but not thinking bigger alone. By this I mean keeping active audience participation, remembering who you are trying to reach and using those elements to engage and make great art. I remember taking my grandma to a thesis show of an art school I was taking classes at, and after we looked at everything she said, "this art just makes me feel stupid". The point is, social engagement and art are a great marriage, your audience is important, don't make them feel stupid and unengaged. The more they are involved, the more invested they will become, which opens doors for them to understand art better, and possibly even unite us all more as a community.