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Interview: 40 Days of Dating
Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman's Experiment
By Ian Winship
Have you ever grown sick of dating? Do you find that you run into the same problems relationship after relationship. Two friends, with opposite problems, felt the same way so, they decided to date each other. Jessica Walsh, of Sagmeister & Walsh, and designer Timothy Goodman see each other each day, individually answer daily questionnaires, and see a relationship counselor once a week. This routine will last 40 days.
Since the start of the experiment, they have been posting, one day at a time, the questionnaires they've answered along the way. A whole bunch of their artist friends helped them out by providing images for each day. Quail Bell got a chance to talk to them a little bit about their project. Check it out:
Give it to me straight, who’s idea was this; Jessica or Timothy?
Timothy: It was all me.
Jessica: Nope, it was mine.
Did you think that a relationship could come out of the project?
Timothy & Jessica: There was certainly a healthy curiosity about it before we started, otherwise we probably wouldn't have agreed to do this together. Also, as creative people, we love the process of making something provocative, and we were very excited about that aspect, too.
Were you afraid of ruining your friendship?
Timothy: Yes, we were in a constant state of worry before we began the project.
Jessica: Absolutely. We went back and forth several times about whether it was a good idea. The biggest risk was hurting a great friendship.
In relationships people have desires that need to be fulfilled, i.e. financial, sexual, friendship, etc. What are your top 5 essential needs in a relationship?
1. A sense of humor
2. An openness and curiosity towards life
3. Sexual chemistry
4. A love for your career
5. Support and acceptance
1. To be able to explore the world together with a sense of curiosity, creativity, and play
2. Emotional and physical intimacy with a healthy dose of personal space
4. Mutual respect and support
5. Plenty of cuddling
Which of these needs, if any, did your partner fulfill during the project?
Timothy & Jessica: We were friends for 4 years before we started the project, so we were already aware of certain things. However, nothing can really prepare you for the things you learn when you do an experiment like this.
How did you two think up of date ideas? Did one person take charge in particular?
Timothy & Jessica: No, we both came up with ideas, and tried to accommodate our different interests.
Without giving anything away, were there any major disruptions in your project?
Timothy & Jessica: Yes. You'll have to wait and see!
What did you hope to get out of this project?
Timothy & Jessica: It's part social experiment, and part art project. In an attempt to explore our habits and fears in relationships, we decided that dating each other for 40 days could be a way to explore these issues. Having the boundaries of a project allowed us to take on that challenge, in what was really a once in a lifetime opportunity.
How has this project made you rethink your dating past?
Timothy & Jessica: It challenged us to come to confront some issue that we had long swept under the rug. And because of that, it has allowed us to rethink the way we approach and handle relationships moving forward.
The posting process has only just begun. What is it like looking back at those 40 days, collecting all the information, seeing each other's responses, and showing them to the world?
Timothy & Jessica: It's certainly been surprising to read what we've written about each other. And yes, it's been difficult, but also very liberating to release it to the public. Our individual stories, issues and approaches aren't much different from a lot of folks. We're happy that people are connecting so much to it.
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