Art Unites Hearts: From Vision to Global Harmony

«The point is, art nev­er stopped a war and nev­er got any­body a job. That was nev­er its func­tion. Art can­not change events. But it can change peo­ple. It can affect peo­ple so that they are changed… because peo­ple are changed by art – enriched, enno­bled, encour­aged – they then act in a way that may affect the course of events… by the way they vote, they behave, the way they think.»
Leonard Bern­stein

Com­pos­er, Con­duc­tor, John Gru­en inter­view in Los Ange­les Times, Decem­ber 31, 1972

As the cre­ator of The Love­pro­ject, I, Rudi-Renoir Appoldt, embark on the jour­ney of recount­ing the gen­e­sis and real­iza­tion of this pro­found art project. At its heart, The Love­pro­ject aimed to ignite a glob­al con­ver­sa­tion on love and peace, sym­bol­ized by a colos­sal bill­board tow­er­ing over Times Square, New York. Join me as I delve into the con­cep­tion, exe­cu­tion, and impact of this endeav­or, reflect­ing on the pow­er of love to tran­scend bound­aries and inspire change.

Seeds of Inspiration: Summer 1996

Sum­mer 1996, Boston MA, USA. Wrap­ping up my four years of music stud­ies at Berklee Col­lege of Music was a tru­ly mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence. Through this peri­od, I had the priv­i­lege of con­nect­ing with musi­cians from diverse back­grounds world­wide, shar­ing our mutu­al love for music and the arts. It got me think­ing: Could peo­ple from all cor­ners of the globe forge sim­i­lar con­nec­tions? Could this sense of uni­ty exist beyond the walls of a pres­ti­gious music col­lege? What would it take to cul­ti­vate such a bond? Could it be nur­tured and pro­mot­ed? And would fos­ter­ing such con­nec­tions con­tribute to glob­al peace?

In my mind, a vision began to take shape—an ambi­tious glob­al art project incu­bat­ed in the bustling heart of Times Square, New York. It would unfold like a mes­mer­iz­ing mag­ic trick, a daunt­ing chal­lenge that mate­ri­al­izes into real­i­ty, sym­bol­iz­ing and affirm­ing our col­lec­tive hope for peace. Pic­ture a bill­board: from a dis­tance, it appears to depict the world, but upon clos­er inspec­tion, one dis­cov­ers it’s formed by the words «I love you» in myr­i­ad lan­guages. This imagery sug­gests that love tran­scends bor­ders, serv­ing as both a uni­ver­sal force and a deeply per­son­al expe­ri­ence, akin to the lan­guage of music. I envi­sioned peo­ple being inspired by this bill­board, cat­alyz­ing its viral spread through­out Times Square and beyond, ral­ly­ing indi­vid­u­als world­wide to unite momen­tar­i­ly in their shared desire for love and peace.

The Personal and the Global

The sig­nif­i­cance of The Love­pro­ject extend­ed beyond per­son­al aspirations—it embod­ied a pro­found long­ing for glob­al peace root­ed in my upbring­ing. Shaped by the expe­ri­ences of war-torn gen­er­a­tions, I inher­it­ed a deep rev­er­ence for non-vio­lence from my par­ents, par­tic­u­lar­ly my moth­er, who endured the hard­ships of wartime Ger­many as a refugee. This upbring­ing instilled in me a fer­vent desire to pro­mote peace on a glob­al scale.

Exploring the Potential of Advertising

Con­tem­plat­ing the per­sua­sive pow­er of adver­tis­ing, I won­dered whether it could be lever­aged to pro­mote peace. How­ev­er, I soon real­ized that adver­tis­ing mere­ly ampli­fies pre-exist­ing desires with­in us. Could there be a latent long­ing for peace wait­ing to be addressed? Might there exist a col­lec­tive yearn­ing for glob­al har­mo­ny, akin to the musi­cal con­nec­tions forged dur­ing my time in Boston?

Ear­ly Draft of the Loveposter