I've never been. The things I find erotic—namely, baked goods and the words "I'm sorry"—I can get at home, for free. This year, however, one exhibit is luring me in: the potential to read a stranger's love note (I also find nosiness erotic) tucked into mounds of pillow's strewn on top of a giant fucking bed. You see, Seattle cartoonist Ellen Forney and her partner, Jacob Peter Fennel find love notes erotic. And so, for the Erotic Art Festival, they've created an installation centered on writing, giving, and receiving them.
- Forney and Fennel, as depicted by Forney
The title of this post is one of the first love notes Forney received from Fennel. And this is the first thing people will see as they enter the Exhibition Hall: a red carpet leading to a bed chamber, complete with two desks on which to write love notes, a handmade nine-by-twelve-foot bed (four times the size of one full bed), and 15 unique handmade pillows, each containing a pocket just large enough to store one note.
Visitors will be encouraged to sit at the desks and write a love note to someone they desire. "It can be specific, like 'I love how your boobs bounce when you cough'," says Forney, "or it can be general, like 'Honestly, you are the awesomest person I've ever met.'"
Then they will climb on the bed, chose a pillow that they're drawn to—pillows ranging in personality from white and frilly to red velvet with brocade to nubby black leather—and replace the love note tucked in the pillow's pocket with their own. In the end, every participant will walk away with a stranger's expressed, personal desire for someone else.
"The handwriting, the smell, the feeling of holding something that you know was written with longing and desire and love in mind is incredibly erotic," says Forney. "And it's something we don't get through texts or email. We're trying to spark that emotional buzz, the familiar quality of being cherished."
The Seattle Erotic Arts Festival runs April 30 through May 2.