Building The First Global Relationship Project

By Topaz Adizes, The Skin Deep Founder + Creative Director.

For a moment, consider what is intimacy? How do you experience it? Can you compare it across various relationships? Does it shift and change in different cultures, languages and communities?

My team and I have spent the past two and half years exploring these questions through an Emmy award-winning interactive documentary titled {THE AND}, where we featured over 150 couples from across the spectrum of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and structure interview one another asking difficult, challenging, and intimate questions. We even got Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro to partake.

Hathaway and De Niro playing {THE AND}

The idea was simple. Have couples sit across from one another, ask honest raw questions and watch them discuss. Simple, yet amazing in practice because {THE AND} places you in the intimate space of all these other relationships such that you can deepen and explore the relationships in your own life.

Teaser for {THE AND}

Ok. Enough of the plug. The point is, I’ve watched over 150 couples sit down and converse. The results have not only moved and changed my team and I, but also every person that has participated, as well as a larger audience of 35 million people in 144 countries.

I want to share what I’ve learned and why my team and I at The Skin Deep have decided to build the world’s first global catalogue of human relationships of the 21st century, or as we like to call it, the {THE AND} Global Relationship Project.

Now I can’t say I’ve seen it all, I don’t think anyone can ever say that, but I’ve seen a lot. And I’ve seen patterns. I’ve seen how the heart is made to love, and how that love works its way through an individual history that has had trauma, fear and emotional scar tissue and doesn’t want to be hurt or vulnerable. And on top of that, all within a society that has it’s own stigmas of what is acceptable and not. Yet, at the end of the day, the heart is made to love and pushes through a maze of rules and fears in an effort to find and connect with another yearning heart; to feel for a moment that it is not alone.

{THE AND} Ali and Andrew

So one thing that I’ve clearly learned is to get rid of your rules. Hold onto your values, but get rid of all the rules of how things have to be or how you want them to be. Honesty, Being Present, Loving, Nonjudgemental. Values. Having kids by 33 or “she has to dress clean cut,” or living in a 3 bedroom house, or “he’s got to have a great body,” or “she’s got to be earning a certain amount of income.” Rules. Kill the rules. They limit your opportunity to love more. And the more you love the more you live.

I’ve also seen how every relationship has a story, out of which compelling, deep and profound truths manifest. You just have to ask the right questions to access it. That is one thing we’ve become very good at; asking quality questions in a certain order and you will discover human truths of gold that will move and resonate with others. Someone told me recently that information informs people, but emotion moves people. My team and I have seen that first hand.

{THE AND} Andrew and Jerrold

Lastly, I’ve seen how {THE AND} format is a humanizing agent. How we are able to emotionally engage topics of all types by connecting the macro to the personal. Sexual expression, criminal justice reform, immigration, cultural differences, gun control, LGBT marriage, to name a few. This is why we are taking {THE AND} global. We are creating a living digital catalogue of human relationships in the 21st century. An interactive platform enabling any user to access stories from around the world to help them through any transitions in their life. A wikipedia of human relationships of all kinds relationships, across many different cultures and languages from around the world.

Imagine if you could access an intimate conversation of a father son relationship in India, and compare that to a father son relationship in Japan, Brazil and Uganda? What truths would resonate across the cultures? What differences would there be? And by witnessing this comparison, and relating it to your own life, what rules would you get rid of? What values would you reinforce?

The possibilities are endless. Mothers and daughters, siblings, exes, grandparent and grandchild, lovers, best friends etc. But we aren’t going for endless. We are achieving what’s possible. Thousands of relationships in a digital catalogue that can be accessed by anyone online and presented in a format that will emotionally move you — the viewer.

For more information about how we are achieving that, learn about our {THE AND} Residency program.

Help make {THE AND} Global Relationship Project a reality.

Topaz Adizes, is the founder and creative director of The Skin Deep, a creative studio focused on human connection in the digital age.

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