Tucker Neel

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I Will Always Love You Project, 2011

phone number, voicemail service, website, various promotional materials, Dimensions Variable, Duration Variable


Pick up your phone right now and call (530) 564-0099.

When prompted, please sing the song "I Will Always Love You" after the beep.

In late 2011, the recordings from this project will be compiled, re-mastered, and released online and as a limited edition CD. All proceeds from the sale of this CD will go to providing free women’s self-defense classes.

For more information visit iwillalwaysloveyouproject.com.

This project was conceived when I was asked to participate in Detours, an exhibition in North Lake Tahoe. After some research I discovered that some of the climactic scenes from the 1992 film The Bodyguard, where the killer stalks Whitney Houston and her family at Kevin Costner’s cabin, were filmed in the Lake Tahoe area. While this movie itself is a piece of American film history, its signature anthem, I Will Always Love You, a rendition of Dolly Parton's immortal classic, performed by Whitney Houston, is perhaps even more memorable, eclipsing the movie’s popularity and impact.

Taking this back-story as a jumping off point, the I will always love you project asks participants both individually and collectively to do something simple, dial (530) 564-0099, and sing this famous song however they like.In the process of executing this project, participants are encouraged to contribute to a collective experience and engage with performance in public and private places. It is my intention that this project will create a situation allowing participants to focus on the song’s lyrics and the act of singing into a telephone, providing a point of remove for rumination and reflection on a number of questions surrounding the song, the movie it came from, and the site where it is sung. How do power imbalances influence relationships? Who is supposed to be the protector and the protected? Where and when is it appropriate to sing a song about a break-up?

Additionally, this project constructs a system of exchange, where individual, mostly non-professional singers, transform a song about loss, from a movie about a narcissistic woman in a passive role of defenselessness, into funds to produce something self-reflective and empowering, namely a self-defense class providing women the tools needed to defend themselves without the need for a male protector. Thank you for your interest in this project.

Artworks by Tucker Neel

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