Oh it seems the November Project 2010 is over! And honestly, I feel quite sad, or at the very least, without such a sense of direction. During the November Project it was like every moment of the day was going towards something which somehow had meaning.
During the weeks I feel I've reassessed how I interact with others, and where intimacy is deeply buried and underlying, or completely devoid, in numerous social circumstances.
No physical contact made me feel alone, watermelon eating made me feel attention seeking (and bloated), no eye contact made me feel rude, no speaking made me feel...good. Though at some stage all did make me feel nervous around others in their own way.
If you have any questions leave a comment on the blog or email me at doyoulovemejamiestewart at gmail dot com.
Honestly not a great deal to add to this week. I'd say over all, it was the most successful out of all of them. Though I did continue to very occasionally slip up when around my mother, speech was so very limited. Whilst the first and third weeks/boundaries may have sounded like less drastic measures, they were harder to enforce as they were such casual actions that one falls into with people they know and don't know. Talking, at least, is really only something we do with people we know or are close to. There's no talking example comparative to meeting eyes across a room or brushing legs under a table.
I feel like I enjoyed this week the most, not regretting anything that was not said, when normally it is all to easy to regret a whole lot that was uttered.
I'm very pleased how this is going. In all honesty, I have accidentally uttered a few words to my mother before gasping and stopping. I suppose it's harder to remember when I'm just at home, in a situation I wouldn't be talking normally/frequently.
Yesterday I went to the private view at Ikon gallery for the new Len Lye show (which was wonderful) and the lovely Andy B. said the quote at the top, after we had a great conversation. Mostly when I spoke to people they would continue to be vocal, but one person wrote down as well, explaining that he felt strange to talk out loud.
When in these more social situations it seems it may put a certain amount of strain on those I converse with, though I don't necessarily view it in a negative light. All interactions become in some what private, as there's little place for me in groups at the moment.
So far, it also seems that I have a lot that's not much worth saying. With more effort needed for literally every word, there's a lot I've stopped bothering with...
This is either easier or harder than weeks 1 and 3, and I can't tell which yet. Day 1 down with no fuck up. It's not as difficult as I thought it'd be as I've allowed myself written communication via pen and notepad and a small laptop. Tom D. and I hung out all morning together and had a lovely time chatting (me via a screen next to him and him speaking) and watched a bit of a film. It wasn't awkward once. As with most of these boundaries so far, I'm more nervous about encounters with those I'm not so familiar with. Asking a stranger for something via a piece of paper is a harder thing to do, than a conversation over paper with a friend.
It was a choice between no speaking, no sleeping or no sitting. No sitting seemed a little dull in some ways. I'm sure my legs will hurt a lot more and I'll learn how to appreciate comfort but I felt it wouldn't really give me as interesting as an experiance.
No sleep would have been a great one to do, but with needing to work and concerntrate on various things in my life, it's impractical. I'd need to not have anything to do in a week for no sleep (ironic because in some ways I'd have so much more time)...
So no speaking it is! However, this does no mean no communication. Writing and typing notes is something I'll allow myself, as well as blogging, email, social networking.
Some seemed very put off by the whole thing, not being able to hold conversation with me as much as possible. However, over all it was much more difficult keeping up this boundary around those I didn't know too well. Bumped into some friends outside the cinema and greeting and talking were almost impossible. I would rather not talk about myself and the project before a proper hello, but it's the push between being rude in that way against appearing rude by not aknowledging others with that basic point of recognition and contact via the eyes.
I need to warn people before getting into even a brief conversation. Saw some friends outside the cinema and I didn't know where to look because the only place I would've looked was into their eyes. I mainly speak at the ground. Had a talk with a lady in an office today who didn't know there was a boundary, and apparently looked confused at my friend. I must seem very rude. I also think I must look slightly like I'm blind as when I talk to someone it's as if I'm not focusing anywhere, especially not at them.
I missed no physical contact more than no eye contact. It's somehow more comforting.
I think this is nearly impossible. I made accidental eye contact, mostly when eyes happened to pass one another, and a few times when in conversation with Sean. Walking and talking makes this boundary easier and it's rare to constantly look at someone when on the move. This boundary has required the most concerntration. When asking people in school to borrow equipment exc, I've directed my question at the object. Getting other's attention is tricky and conversation had an underlying distraction.
I told my teacher this weeks boundary last week, and I'm glad I did. It's easy to assume I'm ignoring everyone.
In the "canteen" at school. Sean Francis Burns and I sat as a table where I cut and stuffed watermelon into my mouth. The documentation for this day is shown through the stained paper that was on the table. Again, I didn't look around too much. Sitting and not standing altered it drastcally as a performance. By the last peice I stuffed it hard into my mouth till it was hard to swallow and i started to gag. Pushing through on initial ideas about vulgarity, destruction and health.
Been far too slow on updating this weeks boundary. Sadly my photos will have to wait to be uploaded (blogger, slow internet, exc)
This clearly will be my easiest week, depending only on myself to be completed and lasting for around half an hour each day. Because of these 2 factors, it's also the least socially challanging. Though last week and next week may appear more subtle within in social situations compared to someone "staging" an eating, I found it was fairly easy to play up or down. Day 1 in the studio - photographed and found on my FLICKR (click) Very contained by situation. Day 2 - Outside Starbucks in town, sitting down (photos to be coming soon i hope!). I ate pretty quickly and systematically, swiftly picking up each peice and working my way through it. I'm not sure how many people noticed or looked or stared because I became focused and didn't look around. I like how it probably didn't seem all that out of the ordinary on first glance.
Day 3 - In my kitchen at home over the sink. (sometimes having a busy life means I can't always be as much as an exhibitionist as I'd like)...photos for this day also coming soon I hope.
Everyday this week I will eat an entire watermelon in one sitting/standing. Hopefully all days will be documented.
Watermelons are very healthy, but when eating a whole one, it looks grotesque and savage, more like meat then a fruit. It becomes sickening and a push between health and destruction.
I have done this before, but as a one off, and by myself in my bedroom.
Unfortunatly my computer wasn't letting me upload the third part. I will try again soon.
The seed that planted this idea in my head was a moment in Larry Clark's controversial film KIDS, where Telly talks describes a girl's virgin innocence being totally captured by her eating a watermelon.
Last night was the worst, at work and then in a very crowded bar, the whole thing was pretty much suspended. Made me feel pretty bad in myself for not being able to stay tight to my boundary. The new boundary starts on Monday.
I seem to over compensate on space, either coming across as very polite or very rude to others, as I move away to let them pass. It's a drastic change for someone as physical and social as myself. I feel awkward and self conscious when in a larger group. Public Transport is the worst, mainly because it's further from my control, and I have to edge to the corner of my seat if someone sits next to me. Friends are fine because they understand (or at least to some degree). As well as this boundary making me more aware of the casual physical contact I would've had, I'm also aware of the lack of physical contact in my day to day life. I notice how little I touch a lot of people, and how many don't even notice the avoidance. A sense of loneliness has grown because i feel a larger bubble that holds me back from other people.
At work, however, the boundary was impossible to stay true to. From behind the bar, it was unavoidable and practically every person who ordered a drink from me touched my hands either when giving money, taking change or picking up their drink. People don't notice these small connections.
As my friend Sean pointed out, when physical contact is taken note of, it suddenly changes the situation to something more loaded and intimate. E.g. "he held the door open for me" and "he held the door open for me and slightly brushed my hand" seem very different, even though the second its simply adding in a finer detail.
The first day of no physical contact has made me notice the people around me a lot more. How physical contact happens so casually, but when becoming so aware of it, it all becomes significant. I have started giving people much more room to move around me, stepping far back from them, and keeping away from crowds. It is obviously isolating because I put such a great effort into keeping my distance.
12.54pm Today Sean's hand accidentally touched mine in the library.
This blog will record the progress of the November Project. Each week in November 2010 I will set myself a restrictive rule/boundary to live by. The rules will not build up, but change each week. All boundaries will be linked to my physical body, and therefor in some way test it. The boundary may change how I interact with others as well as how I treat myself.
As well as weekly boundaries I will also be celibate, and not kiss anyone, for the entire month.