Fortune, 2004, 1000 offset prints hand-folded into "fortune tellers" and randomly inserted into library books at the downtown San Antonio Public Library
Another set of 1000 "fortune tellers" randomly inserted into books at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in Washington D.C.
I like that these words rhyme. I like that long is within belong. I like the onomatopoetic nature of long as it cannot be uttered without a slight linger in tempo. I like the complex relationship these words have with each other.
They are neither synonyms nor antonyms, yet they somehow define each other. They do not harmoniously co-exist, nor do they mutually exclude. One could purport to satisfy the other but, belonging is not entirely attainable, and longing is not entirely extinguishable.
Longing is desire. We can long for people, places, things, other times, other lives. We can long to belong. The word conveys ache but not necessarily pain. It can be overwhelming or infinitesimal.
Belonging describes a psychological state—a sense of connectedness to time, place, or people. Our common need to belong is part of what makes it possible. And if we frustratingly cannot find it, we can make things belong to us. Our possessions are our belongings.
These words are posted to incite introspection rather than action. To remind the reader of what it means to be human, of these things we have in common. Our sameness is what makes us feel as though we belong.
Within the context of a billboard, these words would simultaneously expose the constant and empty promise of advertising—the myth that possession will lead to satisfaction and fulfillment.
Longing. Belonging. Seen repeatedly on a daily drive. A subtle but persistent echo.
LongingBelonging, 2004, Billboard installation concurrent with library installation