The Beauty of "Moments"
There is something really special about "moments". Moments that are shared between people for only a limited amount of time and can never be recreated again. Moments that, documented or undocumented, stay with us because of their uniqueness. It is, by far, one of the reasons why I love performance art and installation so much. They are moments in time that may exist again but never in the same way; they are moments that can only be truly captured by those involved and those spectating even if documented. The stories can be told, as I am telling now, but no one but me and those around me will truly understand the moment.
A spectacular thing happened this passed Friday 13th.
Some of you might know that I am a collective member of this amazing winter festival series called Long Winter. On Friday, we collaborated with Harbourfront Center to take over the lakeside with art, music, and experience -- and experience is the most important part of Long Winter, I'd say. You never know what you're going to find when you go there, but chances are you'll find a moment. A moment you'll never find again.
I wasn't expecting much. I had withdrawn my original art proposal for the night and exchanged it with a simple looping video in order to fill the space that otherwise was no longer being occupied. The room was huge, and open, with a curated playlist of triphop, lo-fi chillhop, and nujazz. I had no expectations, and maybe that's what made it so beautiful.
My first cherished moment was when this couple sat and watched the 3 minute looping video for almost twenty minutes. I could tell they were just vibing with the music, relaxing, chilling. It was a good feeling, and then we got talking about the video and what it meant to them; how it changed every time the song changed and they saw something different.
Things really picked up when a friend of mine and her friend came around. We hung out, danced a bit to the music, went out to wander about and check out the other acts and then came back every once in awhile. After wandering on back up to the vibe room (as I started to call it), my friend's friend mentioned there being a lot of chairs-- why not make a chair fort? Sure! Why not. Two chairs in, though, I realized we weren't making a chair fort. We were making an installation.
The night carried on, and perhaps my favorite moment was one completely undocumented by anything other than the message I'm sharing now. While my friend, her friend, and I were all up in this room dancing around we decided to add some more chairs to the "fire". It just so happened that some people came in and started to watch so I thought, why not ask them to join? The best part: they did! We continued to build the "fire" and then danced around together. It was truly something magical, a magical moment in time that people were either present for or not, and it could never be created again. We tried two other times and the stars just did not align. It was once, that one single moment shared between all of us, and that was it.
As the night started coming to a close, a couple of people came up to hang out, dance, and chat. Just them, the music, and me spectating.
Just as things were starting to shut down at about 1:30am, a swath of people showed up for a ten minute dance party before they slipped out again into the night and we packed up to head home.
All in all, while I'm upset I didn't get to capture the bonfire moment like I did other moments I feel that the lack of documentation is what makes it truly special. It's a moment that will live on through the people involved because we experienced it fully. A moment we'll never experience ever again, and we may not ever meet one another again either but the memory will stay. I know for me, at least, it's not something I'm likely to forget.
But that you've come on this journey with me, here's a selfless plug! Long Winter is happening again in January, and this time it's at the Gladstone Hotel! It's an amazing collaboration with a fantastic artist collective from Chinatown called Tea Base. Come check it out! What else are you doing in January other than being sad?