On Friday, as part of the Metro Arts program with Exist, I had the chance to share a work called A Timely Act of Intimacy.
Together with the thank you, thank you to Exist for including me on the program, thank you to Metro Arts for supporting space for artists in this way, thank you too dear friends like Sophie and Sonia for their thoughtful advice in the preparation of the work, and of course to the people who took time to experience the short performances, there is a deep sense – on my part at least – of tenderness.
I have always appreciated the way that tender can be used to describe something that is both lovely and delicate, and somehow bruised and painful. And so it was with my experience of Friday night.
Ironically I still ended the evening alone after a visit to the kebab shop, but I cannot really complain for before that point I manage to spend two hours relating to a range of people, some of whom I knew, some of whom I did not. As is usually the case with making art, I wondered if I did not experience more than the audience – able to see as a performer the range of responses available to those people. In some circumstances there were smiles, in others almost the threat of tears, yet always for me, a deep honour in being able to relate in this very specific way.
For my mind at least, intimacy remains a challenging yet nevertheless desirable aspect of human relations. There is a very primary, mammalian need to hold close to those around us, attempting somehow to remove the distressing individuality of our existence, or at least of individuated consciousness. Equally, there is a limiting quality to the desire to equate intimacy only with romantic connectedness. I don’t have any clear answers, any specific directive for either myself or others, I am merely curious as to the possibilities of other kinds of intimacy, fleeting but respectful, temporal but sincere, faking it but with kindness, talking back to something we remember or challenging us to discover something new.
For just a small period of time, another dimension existed to this often remote world we aimlessly roam, This dimension was inhabited by a wonderful poet, her beautiful words and in my case a very appreciative, heart felt, listener. The lack of intimacy in todays world only adds to the disconnectedness so many feel. This, was a wonderful experience – exhilerating for me, though I suspect exhausting for Eleanor.
Thank you Eleanor.
Thank you so much for being a part of it, Tony, it was incredibly exhausting, but beautiful to experience – all the more so because people like you were there to share it.