The 'I Gave You Nothing But Expectation' project was inspired
by the observation that people look for opportunities to project
their hopes and desires onto other people.
In the summer of 1999 I placed an ad in the lonely hearts section of
the Guardian newspaper. The ad deliberately failed to describe
anything about me. Instead it was comprised of a series of contradictory
statements. It was devised to be a foil to see how much people
themselves onto other people. The respondees answered the ad
via a telephone message service.
A phrase from each response
was selected to represent that
person. This was an attempt at capturing the essence of that
person's hopes and desires. My interpretation of their expectation
of me, mirrored their interpretation of the
description of me.
The project is problematic. This is mainly due to my intention not being
the same as that of the participants. They were not privy to
my real intention. After the project this caused me some ethical/
In subsequent projects which have included participants, I have been
mindful to share my intentions, share the outputs before putting them
in the public domain and gained necessary permissions.