It is surprisingly difficult for the participants of #TAKEMEANYWHERE to talk about it. And, for similar reasons, it is difficult to express in writing just how remarkable the project was and is. I have tried very hard to treat the project with respect.
Similarly, Jacky has remarked that it is hard for her to talk about #TAKEMEANYWHERE. She writes, “The experience has become incredibly personal and private to me. At first I wanted to shout it from a mountain top. But then as time went and I remained connected with people, #TAKEMEANYWHERE became so much bigger than I can express.” Rachel has made similar remarks.
The participants feel at least somewhat comfortable meeting and talking about the project together. They understand that they were all part of something special. But I have a sense that at least some of the participants feel like sharing the experience with everyone else, outside the project, might be destructive – as if the experiences might be too fragile to share with those who did not participate in the experience.
I am truly indebted to Jacky, Rachel, and Robert for trusting me with their experiences, and for letting me write about them in this creative essay. That means a great deal to me. None of them, I have a sense, would have been willing to open up, like that, for any average newspaper writer. And I deeply appreciate their willingness to open up about the project, to me. They had to put a lot of trust in me, and I deeply appreciate that. We sought to do #TAKEMEANYWHERE the credit it deserves, and to talk about LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner with gentleness and respect.
I feel like an essay which tries to document and discuss #TAKEMEANYWHERE can be valuable. So do Rachel, Jacky, and Robert. We feel like it is valuable for other people to reflect on projects like this, and to understand the artwork created by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. Rachel puts it like this: “I’m trying to find a way to talk about it for the sake of the piece. I’d really like to be able to share in a way that sheds light on this work that they are doing and why people feel so strongly about it.” That is what I’ve tried to do, with my creative essay. I can only hope that my essay is as respectful as I have sincerely tried to make it, and that it is a success.
I freely admit that I’m looking at #TAEKEMEANYWHERE as an external observer, and there are certain emotional places I cannot go. There are certain things that I will necessarily miss, because I wasn’t inside the project while it was taking place. And there are certain things that participants are less likely to share with me, because I wasn’t there. I did try! I actually drove to the very first coordinates the artists posted in Colorado, but I arrived too late, and they were already gone. And there was too much I needed to do over the summer – really needed to do – to take off and follow them across the country.
How can I, as an author, really do #TAKEMEANYWHERE credit, when it meant so much to the participants, and when so much that is personal is at stake? Further, my conversations with all three of the participants I interviewed were limited. I have a sense that there is a great wealth of emotions, thoughts, and connections beneath everything they told me, that I could only guess at, and if I were to try, I would no doubt do damage to the originals. #TAKEMEANYWHERE is, quite frankly, just freaking-difficult to wrap my words around. I suspect that no matter how many questions I asked Rachel, Jacky, and Robert, certain things would be impossible to describe. I suspect that a great deal of this couldn’t be adequately expressed with words, at all. Experiences are tricky that way. How can you accurately describe the color “blue” to someone who has never seen any colors, before?
Some of the other participants in #TAKEMEANYWHERE made YouTube videos depicting parts of their experiences with the project. For example, one participant, Scott Daly, made a YouTube video about trying to find LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner with his friend Hank Hansen. The two Brigham Young University students eventually picked the three artists up and spent roughly two days with them. Most of the YouTube video Scott created shows the two students driving around, trying to find the artists in the first place. Comparatively little of the video shows them actually with the three artists.
At a certain point, the two students decided that they no longer wanted to document their experiences. I think their YouTube video expresses quite beautifully that there are certain things that you just want to live, rather than try to capture with film. And likewise, there are certain things that are beyond words. Right before the film ends, Scott provides a voice-over narration for his final footage:
“Despite the fact that I was with him for probably thirty more hours, this is the last footage I have. At some point, I just lost the desire to film. It started to feel less like something I wanted to document, and more like something I just wanted to enjoy.”
Andrew J. Corsa, Ph.D.