Building Connections

I didn’t send out an email last Thursday because I was involved in Open Art Surgery, a week long hip hop theatre intensive, that was really intense. The process was awesome, and somehow we (there were 20 of us) managed to make a show! The show itself was actually good work – if only I could have my friends give me a Google review. You’ll just have to take my word for it 😉

Tonight I happened watched another theatre performance, this time featuring feminist art. It was in a small art gallery with a DIY vibe, where the public bathroom was backstage with all the actors, where there were free cupcakes and images of breasts on the wall. I was really moved to tears by the powerful women on stage. I saw work by Concordia theatre students about the Brock Turner controversy, a comedy-tragedy by two clowns, clever projections using Facebook messenger, and a solo piece telling a love story using an overhead projector. I was always surprised by what was happening next, because the artists were all so creative with their presentation and transitions. The pieces reminded me why some of us make art – to have a voice and share our experience. It’s cathartic to see a performer being real with us and vulnerable. It reminded me of what my clown instructor this week is telling me all the time about what it means to be a clown. But sometimes it hurts to be real and vulnerable, and we can’t deal with the hurt, and so we put up walls. A shell, a mask, something to protect us from rejection. 

Today, I read an article about how we need to defend an open internet. Technological innovation begins its life as disruptive, DIY and accessible, until it becomes the focus of a corporation. At which point it turns into a money-making machine that crowds out the other voices. It happened with telegrams, it happened with radio, and it happened with television. Now, the same thing is starting to happen with the internet, but thankfully people are fighting for Net Neutrality. Startlingly few people seem to care about or be aware of this issue, as there are a million other issues to care about nowadays (which makes me think about this other article I read about how technology used to save us time but now it’s giving us infinite ways to fill in that time), but when I think about what I saw today, it also makes me think about how it was possible. How is it possible that I can hear these other voices and opinions, and not just some rerun of Pinocchio or Swan Lake? Well, it was word of mouth this time, but I think about how so many other small communities are able to band together because of the internet. And I think that’s really important, to combat popularism and promote diversity, to balance out the popular opinions with other opinions. 

I hope you take the time to read about it. Just to be aware of it, even if there isn’t much to actually do about it right now. Try using Facebook less. Try building a network that isn’t reliant on Facebook, or some other massive corporation. Like writing letters. Calling a friend. Have a big weekly picnic where anybody to join in. That’s in essence what I’ve been trying to do with these emails. Sure, all of these emails are sent thanks to big companies like Microsoft, Google, Mailchimp and Yahoo, but at least it gets you off of Facebook and maybe onto something different. And that’s what we need to do more of these days, something different. 

Different can be scary or painful, it can disappoint, but it can also be absolutely thrilling. I’ll never know how it’ll change me, but I’m always game for something different. 

When was the last time you did something different? I’d love to know. Write a comment!

I’ll be continuing my travel writing in my next email, but I just had to write about the show I saw tonight!

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