blackbird spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


LAURA LARK  |  10 Really Short Videos


 10 Really Short Videos, 2004


Laura Lark produced 10 Really Short Videos as part of a 2004 multimedia installation at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. The videos played in front of a pink wall featuring her life story written in black and in her own hand. Virtually all of the installation’s components reflect the work’s unique collaborative context.

laura lark installation

Shortly after Harrel Fletcher, Miranda July, and Yuri Ono established Learning To Love You More in 2002—a website that publishes a continuous series of open art “assignments” and do-it-yourself “reports”—Lark became the first participant to respond to the site’s first assignment: “Make a child’s outfit in an adult size.” Lark’s first LTLYM report ultimately consisted of a narrative and photograph of herself, in her oversized child’s outfit, with her arm around Fletcher.

laura lark's child's outfit

Early the next year, Fletcher and July issued the perfect assignment for Lark, who holds MFAs in both art and creative writing: “14. Write your life story in a day.” Lark’s life story quickly became one of the most famous and influential of all LTLYM reports—especially as the basis for assignment 22: “Recreate a scene from Laura Lark’s life story.” In the text of this assignment, Fletcher and/or July justifiably say about Lark’s autobiography, “It is an amazing story, a classic American tale.”

In the summer of 2003, eighteen participants submitted video recreations of Lark’s LTLYM autobiography, many of them apparently from Japan.

In the months following, for their exhibition, Perspectives 144: Amalgama, curators at the CAMH commissioned Lark to shoot her own videos of her life story. 10 Really Short Videos played on a television with headphones on a black stand, in front of the life story in pink and black.


Lark’s color choice satisfied the original requirements of Assignment 22, which specified that videos should begin with a quote from the story in black on pink. Learning To Love You More ultimately published Lark’s autobiographical videos among the other Assignment 22 reports.


Lark’s CAMH installation and these videos represent the culmination of a collaborative, multimedia project that, given the predilections and aesthetics of its participants, remains conventional and accessible even as it realizes the artistic and social potential of new media.

--Joshua Eckhardt  end of text