Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Two years ago today Zach and I began our ten day capsule relationship and then so much more. 
We met recently and caught up on the past 18 months of not speaking. 
For half of a second, I thought that today would be great to have the 'chance run-in' he had written into the original script, but I think we both know that we can't go back. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who holds the real 'truth'?

In every kind of relationship, there are always multiple versions of truth. One person remembers an incident in their one way while another will have their memory changed by something as simple as an emotional trigger. I have been reading Zach's responses to me and thinking about my own responses to past events and realize that these are the reason that he and I cannot reconcile, post-project. His idea of truth is not mine. His idea of the bond of trust is not mine. We do not share the common memory of these most basic ideas, therefore leaving us on opposite sides of the fence.

The other major conclusion I came to is about my investment in art. In making this project an art piece I placed very high expectations and investment into it because I AM an artist and this is how I work as an artist. I don't idly pass my time with an art piece as a hobby. The art, any art, becomes part of my identity. This is not the case for Zach. He never had the same investment and now I can understand why, when he left the project, it was so easy for him and so hard for me to grasp. I placed an unfair expectation on him that he would have the same artistic investment and caring for the project as me, just because that is how I work. It is not Zach's fault that he is not an artist and doesn't understand how much is at stake when invested in a project. It IS however, his fault that he handled his departure poorly.

Maybe forgiveness is one of those things people hold in different esteem as well. At this point, my arm is tired from holding out provisional olive branches. May he have a happy life with all things related to this project erased. For me, it is something I did that I will never regret, will always hold dear, but will also somewhere remain as an emotional black spot.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Male vs. Female

The battle of the sexes never ends. I have been paying careful attention in the last (almost) year to who has a visceral or emotional response to this project and I'm finding that the majority of the 'fans' are women. I'm wondering if this is because women feel social scripting or the pressure of socialization more acutely? Maybe it's because women can relate to the story told primarily from a female voice? I'd like to hear your responses to this question.

The recent slew of comments on burn magazine, ranging from attacking to supportive, supported this theory as well. The women who commented tended to be sympathetic to the project while many of the men (not all of course) couldn't get past technical talk. I am not trying to put people into their gender pockets here, but the observations can't be denied.

It should be noted that Zach refused to participate in support of the project on burn magazine and again refuse his responsibility to the project. In a statement, he wrote "you probably wouldn't like what I have to say anyways". He also doesn't want to meet on the one-year anniversary of the beginning of our project. It does not matter whether I feel positively or negatively about him, I am still proud of the work I invested and feel sorry for him for what he missed.

My final words on the subject are words of advice: don't mix business with pleasure, or in this case, reality with the fictional.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

BURN Magazine

The photo essay is posted on BURN Magazine's website NOW! Please check it out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The challenge has been laid out

If you re-read Zach's initial craigslist posting, it has a day for the couple to run into each other some time after the relationship ends. We began the project April 1st, 2009. I am proposing to him (and in public here) that he and I "run into" each other just as we are now for a real ending to the project. The ending as it exists now is falsified because we were still hanging out afterwards. In the present, Zach and I actually do not talk and I believe a 'chance' meeting would be more authentic and final. Let's see if he goes for it.

This idea comes from remembering anniversary dates, but more importantly from reading about Marina Abromovic's current performance piece at MOMA. After a goodbye ritual from her long time collaborator, Ulay, in 1988, they met again at her staring table at MOMA. They stared at each other, touched hands and a tear was streaming down her face. The idea of relationships being something that are organic, constantly changing, and only finalized by death is interesting to me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I just watched Paper Heart with Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. It's a documentary about her quest for love and focusing on their real-life relationship. Two major things came to mind while watching it.
One was the intense discomfort Michael Cera felt having his relationship under the scrutiny of the camera. I understood that emotion directly.

Secondly I was struck by the fact that Charlyne felt that she was supposed to feel love for Michael and she didn't which caused an enormous amount of guilt. It's like she felt a draw towards social scripting with a sense that love was something she was supposed to be feeling and she couldn't find her place in the script. She was talking to so many people in the film who did follow the love script and it seems to me as if it further implanted the idea that love was something she was supposed to be experiencing. I am struck by how she felt that she failed by not finding love when she felt it was supposed to happen.

I don't see their relationship as being conceptual but I do see it as being scripted, so I wonder if there is any difference between the two? These two are most definitely less accessible than Susan and Arin, but perhaps I'll reach out to one or both of them as well.

See the film and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thank you, again

Thank you to Carolyn at Arcadia for having me as a guest in her class.
Thank you for Shelly at UArts for the same.
Thank you to Arin and Susan for being an amazing source of inspiration and conversation.
Over and out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I often have dreams about people I am no longer in touch with because it is literally the only way I can communicate with them. In the case of Zach, I had one that was very close to reality. We were flying somewhere to talk about the project. He moved his seat from next to me to another seat across the aisle. It was at that moment I knew something was wrong and started peppering him with questions. It came out that there was a woman named Alice or Allison and he was moving to be with her and didn't want to work on the project anymore. It was at that point I fired him from the project (again). This scenario in my dream only echoes what happened in real life three months ago.

I think this appeared in my dream because I am about to speak in public about the project again next week. I haven't spoken in public about the project since Zach and I had our falling out and ceased communication. I am grappling with how exactly to talk about the project since the context of it has changed so much since my last talk in July where he was just away and I was just missing him.

I'd like to thank Arin Cromley of Four Eyed Monsters for an insightful comment he made to me in regards to conceptual relationships.
"Conceptual relationships are fun. Real relationships are good too. In a way there is no such thing as a relationship that isn't real, because what ever one might do for a conceptual relationship, they really are doing it, and then there really is a real relationship there."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

really, go see this film

Please watch the video podcasts if you had any interest in the project that Zach and I did. Arin and Susan had a different kind of conceptual relationship which lasted far longer and was more thoroughly documented, but I see many parallels between the creation of a creative project within the confines of a relationship and the blurred lines between the two. I also see a connection between the strife and emotional hardship it creates. Please check it out! These two are my heroes of the week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A film falling under the category of a 'conceptual relationship'

Four Eyed Monsters, 2005
I am surprised I had never heard of or seen this film before. I am really enjoying the dedication to the concept of the non-verbal relationship the two people made.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CAPSULE relationship talk at Arcadia University

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice

Arcardia University, Philadelphia, PA

Monday, December 7, 2009

7:00 PM

This event will feature Ellie Brown discussing the capsule relationship and the long and short term effects it had.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Post 101

It's funny that the 101st post is actually the start of a new era for the project. The 100s will be about the epilogue. They will address Zach's abandonment of the project and our relationship. The epilogue is about what happens when all relationships end and the bitterness, blame, regret and pain they almost always seem to encompass.

I am in full possession of the project and the route it takes now. There was so much time and work spent on the project, I refuse to abandon it. I want it to fly. At the same time, it's a constant reminder of something sweet that was left out to rot. Does anyone really want to go around promoting a book about yourself and an ex? Probably not. This is my current dilemma, but I think that the solution will be to talk about everything from now on. That is, from me answering the craigslist advertisement to the final phone call. It's now all sealed as part of the conceptual story turned real.

Two things are ringing in my head right now. One was Zach speaking in the audio from day nine about how someday we really will be seeing each other for the last time and how when that day arrived, I didn't know IT was the day. The very last thing I did on that day was hand him a copy of the book.
The other thing was how he was always unsettled about how we never had a real ending or real fighting in the conceptual relationship and now we switched to the real life goodbye which ironically has more fighting than either of us would ever have wished for and a real final goodbye. I guess the moral of the story is to watch what you wish for.

This ending is not surprising, but still heartbreakingly sad.
I wish Zach luck finding what it is he is looking for. I am looking forward to the new life of the project without him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Video Pt. 3

Thank you First Person Arts for posting this video!

Video Pt. 2

From the First Person Arts Salon, July 8th 2009
The video is in three parts. Watch part 2 here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Still Waiting

That is, I am still waiting for the publications to come out in Burn magazine and Plateform magazine. First Person Arts Salon also has to post pt. 2 of the video on you tube. Patience is a virtue I hear.

For any future inquiries, I have taken over the project and will be the sole contact and exhibitor.
Everyone, give Zach a warm goodbye!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Maybe this relates in a distant sort of way

Fatebook during the pafringe festival.
Where the virtual world spills out into the real.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

As the Kinks sang.....

So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for yoooouuuuu.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Anaisa Nin from Seduction of the Minotaur (on scripting)

"We may seem to forget a person, a place, a state of being, a past life, but meanwhile what we are doing is selecting a new cast for the reproduction of the same drama, seeking the closest reproduction of the same drama, seeking, the closest reproduction of the same drama, seeking the closest reproduction to the friend, the lover, or the husband we are striving to forget. And one day we open our eyes, and there we are caught in the same pattern repeating the same story."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Video Pt. 1

It's not as horrifying as I thought it would be. Stay tuned for part 2.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I am expecting video from my First Person Arts Salon presentation to be posted tomorrow. I cringe to watch myself speak, but you may enjoy it (especially if you could not be there).

Monday, July 13, 2009

One month

Zach left one month ago and I have not heard a peep from him. Granted, he is in the woods, I find it hard to imagine that there is no access to mail, landline or a trip into town to call or email.

This I suppose reinforces his original intent to END the capsule relationship when it was supposed to end. Perhaps this is his way of finding closure to the project.
Maybe one of these days he'll get in touch and comment back about this.
In the meantime, his presence is still sorely missed.

I am carrying on crafting new opportunities for the project which I suppose has a life of its own now and does not need him to help carry it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A different kind of Capsule experience

A man who lived on a plane for a month.

I think I am going to keep collecting examples of other types of capsule experiences here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This website sort of amuses me

It's taking my own private viewpoints on not having children to a whole new level. Excessive?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thank you First Person Arts Salon

Last night was my talk about the the project; the first public talk. I was nervous about how I was going to encompass such a huge project in 20 minutes, but it seemed to go well and also was well received. I thank all of you who were there and asked interesting questions.

I realized a few things. One is that the project is really strongly represented live because of it's anecdotal nature. The second is that Zach should have been there, period. Thirdly, I realized how very vulnerable I am talking about something so personal in public.

Here were some comments that were good, bad, funny, thought provoking:
-Have you talked to actors about how they keep themselves separated?
-How do you separate the art from life and documentary?
-You've been through a lot: do you need help?
-Would you consider making this into something like Tony and Tina's wedding? (NO WAY)
-Where did the baby go?
-Is Zach coming back and are you two going to continue the alternate ending?
-Do you often do projects of a performative nature like this?

......there were more great responses and a lot of people who seemed to be touched by the project. I know I am.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kids are doing conceptual relationships too

This was a funny story.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thank you for recognizing me

This is for the nice lady working at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction yesterday.
She told me of a story about a girl in her high school who went to school everyday pretending to be pregnant. Evidently she kept getting bigger and bigger until her religious family found out, contacted the administration and told her to stop. This is an amazing conceptual statement for a high school girl to make and I applaud her gumption for going forth with the project. I had a hard time with one day! I need to do a little research, because apparently this girl was on MTV.

The Fist Person Arts Salon is coming up on Wed. so I hope to see you there. Also, don't forget that I can sign a brand spanking new copy of the book for you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Signed books at First Person Arts

Just to let you know, I will have five softcover signed books for $35 at the First Person Arts Salon. These are a limited edition of five.
You again, can also order your own at
I am partial to the hardcover myself.
See you next week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

If you are in Philadelphia, please come to this!

First Person Arts Salon, July 8th 7:30-9:30pm

Click the link for details

Monday, June 22, 2009

strange aftermath

Zach's absence is sorely noted every time I promote the project, talk about the project or look at the project.
A rather odd residual effect came today when the topic of dating came up online with a stranger who had viewed the project. It seems he didn't look at it very closely because he had the impression that my mode of operating romantically was within a capsule relationship. It was neither intelligent nor humorous on his part to make such a blanket statement or assumption.
Am I forever branded with a scarlet "C" for doing this project?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Book!

By Ellie Brown and Z...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today is the real ending.

Today is the day I really say goodbye to Zach as he leaves for camp and a summer without contact. I am heavy with sadness.

This means that I will be dealing with the project alone from this point on. Look forward to:
July 8th: Me speaking about the project at the First Person Arts Salon in Philadelphia
July: The publication of our book on
July: Publication in Plateform and Burn magazines (hopefully I have the timeline correct here). 
Beyond: Possible exhibitions of the photography and audio and venues tba.

 Zach's writing on the project, which as yet to be seen will be debuted in the published book. 

I don't regret getting so emotionally involved in the project, but boy, this hurts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

timeline update

The book will be available on in two weeks. Please stay tuned for details.
It will be called: Ten Days in the Capsule.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Audio Day Ten: The End

Day Ten THE END audio

Audio Day Nine: Separation

Audio Day Nine: Separation

Audio Day Eight: The Baby

Audio Day Eight: The Baby

Audio Day Seven: Pregnancy

Audio Day Seven: Pregnancy

Audio Day Six: The Domestics

Audio Day Six: The Domestics

Audio Day Five: Wedding and Honeymoon

Audio Day Five: Wedding and Honeymoon

Audio Day Four: The Parties

Audio Day Four: The Parties

Audio Day Three: Love

Day Three: Love

Day One Audio

Download Ellie Brown and Zach Webber - Day One The Meeting

Saturday, May 30, 2009

current events

In the next day or two I will finish uploading all of the audio representing each of the days. The book will be uploaded and for sale on in a matter of weeks. Stay tuned. 

To come completely clean about the project, Zach and I did become involved around the time of the honeymoon and had been navigating both a real and a conceptual relationship at the same time. When the conceptual relationship ended, the real one became more difficult because there was no script to follow and it was just me as me and him as him. There was often confusion around making decisions between the balance of the workload and our real-life relationship. Now that he is leaving and frantically trying to finish his writing for this project and other things, there is no more room in his life for the real relationship. What is ironic to me is that in the script, I am the one who leaves town and in real life it is he. 

I am quite sad that our real relationship had to end in such a weighty and sudden manner. What did I learn from this? Don't pretend to be intimate with someone for the sake of art because real intimacy may get in the way of the work. No, I don't regret getting personally involved at all and I do think it made our scripted relationship more believable. The problem lies with  separating the work from the personal. For example, now that it's over I have to proceed with any future presentation of the project (including the book) on my own. I don't have Zach's writing and don't know if I ever will. 

Normally when one ends a relationship, there is not a long trail of writing, audio and photographs documenting time together. This is not the case here and for now, these are all sad reminders of what we created and who we were together. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is audio from Day Two

Download Ellie Brown/ Zach Webber - Day Two First Date

Friday, May 22, 2009

Check this out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Burn Magazine online
First Person Arts Salon in Philadelphia
The book!
......and who knows what else........

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Real Ending

The time for the real ending of the project is coming up quickly. This is not the ending of the capsule relationship w which already occurred and felt a bit anti-climatic and unresolved, but the ending of a real and working relationship. Because Zach is going away for the summer and has plans that don't sound like staying within proximity of me in the fall, it seems as if our working relationship is finished. 
I certainly cannot collaborate with someone who doesn't even have phone or internet for two months this summer!

This is very sad to me because I did (and still do) have grand plans for the project and now I feel that they are squelched because of his absence. I don't feel comfortable taking on the entire project on my own, though at times, I may have to and have already.

I am also losing contact with my friend and partner.  This to me is a much bigger loss then the capsule relationship ending. It's going to be a huge re-adjustment to get used a life without him to talk to, plan, work with and hang out with, especially since we've met it's been a constant and intense period of time together. 

We learned that by playing a relationship, we actually formed a relationship to both of our surprise.

I am giving this ending a thumbs down.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Quote from the artist Susan Miller

This is FIVE from "Ten Months"

"She now understands that it is perfectly possible to forget who one has been and what one has accomplished. 

Continuing the piece requires great effort. It is her voice. It is her body. It is painful being inside and outside simultaneously." 

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The interview is up!

Thank you to Mandy from Flavorwire.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Phase two, finished

We have finished recording our audio impressions of the project and I am hoping we can have them up for public listening in the next week or two. 
The audio is a really nice supplement to the blog and photos because we are talking about expectations, things that occurred, feedback and our own emotional involvement. I am really looking forward to having the audio become absorbed into the whole of the project. 

Now we are working on putting a book together with the photographs, my writing and Zach's writing. This seems like it may indeed be the final product of the project since Zach is going away and I'm not sure that I want to take on what was a collaborative project myself. This may change or course, but for now the book is the thing. 

It is really hard to have such  high hopes and ambitions for a project and then realize that they may not be entirely possible due to life situations. As an artist, that is a bitter pill to swallow. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

to reveal

The point of conversation between Zach and I now is primarily revolving around how much to reveal about the depth of the project and its impact and our personal lives. It has totally turned around the way in which I have been considering this project. Now I see that it IS necessary to include personal information in order to talk about the project honestly and show the road that it went down due to some significant outside factors. I think that these facts put the project in a whole new framework and though it may not be ideal or comfortable for us, we need to address all of the factors involved. Yes, I'm being vague....until I figure out how to write about things in an intelligent and graceful manner. I am happy that this river isn't a shallow one. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

An influential image for me

When I shot the final picture of Zach and I in the relationship, I had Ingmar Bergman's Persona on my mind. There were so many shots that have stuck in my mind, even though I haven't seen the film in years and years. I think I should take the time to re-watch it now and see if the images are as I remember them. 

in love with love

Now that the project is over officially, more feedback is starting to roll in. It is something that I really appreciate hearing and actually want to hear more of if you care to share.
I had a very interesting conversation yesterday with a woman who has been following this project since the very beginning and had expressed concern for my emotional well-being in terms of being to separate the fictional from the real because I am not an actor. We discussed how real feelings could evolve out of a fictional situation like a capsule relationship because of the simulation of the real. In her mind, it has to do with the feelings of loving to be in love and having the satisfaction of someone mirroring you and your behavior. This is something that I hadn't thought about before. That Zach and I get along in real life and therefore it was easy to slip into acting out the feelings of love; especially on the third day in the park with the marriage proposal. Being loved fictionally induced real feelings that I wouldn't label as 'love' per se but are more akin to warmth and caring. It's so interesting to me how that if Zach and I had met in real life under real circumstances, we probably wouldn't have formed such a close bond and it's ironic that in playing out the feelings of a real relationship conceptually, we developed actual caring towards the other person. I wonder if under a tight scrutiny, if we somehow started to become the very thing that we were looking at critically in the project?
I love analyzing the complexity of this!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

minor celebrity

I love when Zach and I go out into public together and either of us are recognized through the project. On the receiving end of that, I still feel weird being identified as his conceptual ex-wife and not me, Ellie Brown the artist. (I guess that was the whole problem in the conceptual relationship to begin with; the loss of my personal identity into that of wife and mother). Point taken. 

I think Zach doesn't mind being recognized as part of the project as much, but on the other hand he doesn't like his real persona to be as public as I'm used to having mine being. It's becoming an interesting dynamic. Hopefully we'll go back to being Zach and Ellie as people, not characters in a conceptual relationship, though if we pick up more press and exhibits, we may forever be stuck in these roles. 

We've started recording our analysis of each day which I would like turned into podcasts. I'll keep info on that posted here. I think the interviews will be a nice addition to the written and visual aspects of the project. Would you subscribe to our podcasts? Yes!

I'm a little apprehensive about Zach going away for the summer to work and leaving me to bear the work load of whatever opportunities may arise for the project. It's not something that we anticipated when we began the whole thing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

answers to an interview

This is where an upcoming interview will reside, but I can't put it here until it's actually published. Sorry!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

more comments

*.............. said...

The thing that's missing is weeping. Somewhere, at some point, even in angry or combative public displays (which also seem to be normative for separations, etc), there is weeping by at least one party. Weeping and utter heartbreak...

Ellie Brown said...

You're right though I was trying to stay away from cliche. We talked about crying and I tried to shoot photos of myself crying but they just looked stupid.

*Ellie Brown It's the end!

Wow, Ellie! This is awesome.
Ellie Brown
 Ellie Brown
Thanks all!
Well Done Ms. Brown!!! Didn't get to read the blog, but the photos speak for themselves. Volumes!
Ellie Brown

Ellie Brown Busy weekend: Separation, Divorce, Child Custody, Done. Photos up tomorrow.

if real life only want to smoothly...

*................ Ellie! Just checked out Baby Day (Eight) the evolution of your work. 

*I just read your "The end." and as far as my own experience, you are not at the end. When  (my ex) moved out of my house, I was being civil, there was no physical contact between us, but I helped her work on her new house and her and I were very nice to each other. It took about a month or two after that for the seething hatred to come between us (and even that is an exaggeration) I do wish I had never met the woman, but I don't really hate her still. So your ending is the really the beginning of the end. You will have to dislike each other later and write about it, or not.


*Lol, I guess I should have prefaced this with the intent of my email, which was just to give you some insight of feelings of someone going through what you are conceptually going through, you have been trying to evaluate what you are feeling in real life and what you should be feeling in character. In any case the blog is still 1000x more fascinating than any TV show I could watch.

On Apr 27, 2009, at 7:55 AM, Ellie Brown wrote:
This is a conceptual relationship though...not a knock out real life divorce? Remember....?
We are involved as collaborators and partners in real life so it's not the same.