Since August 2018, I’ve been offering “Circles of Space”, an ongoing pop-up street exhibition around the theme of human connection on busy streets and elsewhere in Victoria, Vancouver and other cities. Inspired by great forerunners such as Marina Abramović (The Artist is Present, 2010) and various other social projects and relational practices, silence is invited into human interaction as a way to connect beyond ideas, concepts, and stories. Without having an agenda of a specific outcome, we simply sit, look, breathe. Sharing a moment of stillness and opening up to one another in such an intimate way, it’s easy to feel appreciated, and also to sense and recognize the deeper similarities that connect us.
After having shared such moments with over 1500 fellow beings by now on busy streets and squares and collected a large number of portrait photos, my question and purpose is: how can we make the possibility of these simple yet profound meetings widely accessible in our society?
I don’t mean to indicate that this is the solution to solve every problem on our planet! Yet, it is a very practical, low-cost initiative that can play a part on our well being on a collective level. Personally I find this to be increasingly needed at this time.
The project has now expanded into working towards the designing and setting up of installations called “Connection Stations” for the public to enjoy. The intention is to create a context for visitors of these spaces in cities anywhere; to be able to share heartfelt moments with their fellow beings as a joyful activity. The meaning is not to discourage speaking altogether. Language is a beautiful tool! Still, after having shared silence and eye-contact initially, many feel the need is often not there to start a conversation. At other times, conversations with an added quality and depth and new friendships may appear out of seemingly nowhere, as the conversation is now rooted in the space that has been created together beforehand.
Regardless of any outcome, this project will be an ongoing exploration on the theme of connection in public space, and something all are welcome to participate in. As we undoubtedly are all part of this intricate structure we call “civilization”, no truly healthy community is possible without the recognition and empowerment of all its inhabitants.
More on this is planned for the spring and summer of 2020. For updates keep an eye out on the blog here, or visit www.circlesofspace.com