Posted on September 28th, 2012
The theme of loneliness for this year’s Visualeyez festival looks different now that I am back home, sliding back into my life and work as if I had never left. When I arrived back in Toronto I felt like I had missed an entire season: the weather had changed from the bright warmth of summer to the brisk winds of fall and I wasn’t even here to see the change. I missed it.
Now that I am home I find myself wishing I were back in Edmonton. I am missing our morning discussions, the way we congregated in the kitchen, all piled together over coffee to discuss sweeping questions like what role does documentation play in performance, or how do we experience time and space in durational performances? To check in with each other about how things were going, about what happened each day, and to take some time to consider how we felt. I am missing Latitude 53: Todd, Tyler, Joanne, Adam, Kyle and Sarah. I am missing all the artists: Stephen, Martine, Lily, Tanya, Adrianna, k.g., Heidi, and Gerry. I am missing chances not taken, and the potential to karaoke every night of the week.
Visualeyez as a festival is unique because it is designed to provide both a space for performance, but also a space for reflection and growth, a space to take chances and experiment. All of the artists are invited to stay for the length of the festival, and are also given the freedom for their performances to adapt and change: to the space of the gallery, in response to the other works that are happening at the festival, and to Edmonton as a city. This time spent together: performing, discussing, talking, eating, walking, laughing, is crucial.
Loneliness is not just about feelings of isolation, emptiness, and missing intimacy in a crowd of strangers. It can also be about missing the people that you feel connected to, about feeling threads tying you together, even when you aren’t. It can be about finding the people who know you, and missing them because you can’t be with them right now. When I arrived in Edmonton I found myself remembering places and people that I had experienced the festival with in 2007. Seeing familiar spaces and remembering someone who wasn’t there with me was odd, these were spaces I had only ever been to with them. Now I have more people and places to miss.