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|VISUALEYEZ 2005 JOURNAL: MAY 23|
I started off the day by holding hands with Jessica McCormack, at Save-On-Foods. She said that when she held hands with certain other people (especially straight men) it felt a lot like a blind date, because there was a tendency to read things in romantic terms. Because I already knew Jessica from before it wasn't so much like a blind date for me, as it was about creating a space for certain conversations to happen, and about setting aside time for each other, with each other.
This act of setting spaces, or creating contexts or situations for certain experiences to take place, seems likes a common approach in the festival here—which I think is how so far the artists seem to be interpreting the theme of ritual: in terms of the deliberate, and even theatrical act of creating these types of situations. In this case it has to do with intimacy and time spent together.
In the Save-On-Foods, I'm aware of the fact that we look like a lesbian couple to people in the supermarket. We walk through the ‘organic'/health food section and I'm aware that we're inhabiting a stereotype here; Jessica makes a joke about this. But then I think about product placement, niche marketing etc… is it a coincidence that we ended up in this part of the supermarket?
The Save-On-Foods is a higher-end supermarket than I'm used to: the food is fresh and enticingly displayed, glistening with the water that is occasionally sprayed onto it from automated jets. There is some unmemorable ballad playing (why does music in big box stores all sound the same?) and I think above all about ‘normality': the degree to which we feel we belong here and which we don't'. To what degree would people feel a lesbian couple here is normal? Is it a sign of how open-minded attitudes are here, either at the supermarket or in Edmonton?
We sit and have a coffee in the supermarket café, which feels like an updated version of older department store cafes (the ones I barely remember in the K-mart, the Bay or Eatons). It seems to be mainly retired people here, one of who decides to talk to us about school uniforms (we are having a conversation about high school). We talk for a while, which seems to be mainly telling each other about our lives, and the stuff that gets under our skin at this present political/economic moment, such as the obsession with safety and a general lack of trust.
I think of the relationship of duration to this type of roleplay: what if we were to do this for a very short period of time (such as long enough to be photographed, as in Nikki S Lee) or for a long period of time, as in Eleanor Antin's personas? What complexities would be drawn out? Would it be harder to distinguish the role from everyday life? I also think of the pleasure and theatricality of roleplay, of doing things you normally wouldn't do.