Being. Alone. Together.
We go through most of our life striving to find our own best way to be. This often begins on the inside, as we start our days in custom ways we have discovered or inherited, monitor our first thoughts and decide on the type of day we want to experience.
We are not trying to define being, because it obviously is nothing but a subjective state, the path to which is deeply personal, influenced by the amount of individual capital knowledge we have at any given point and often – non-linear.
But we all know that at some point we will have to spend a longer period of time alone, circumstantially or by choice; and inevitably learn what it means to be stuck with no one but us and discover what is left or what is in fact hidden beneath our “getting along with other people ‘’ surface. Coming home, or simply being alone and getting back to yourself, as it turns out, can be more fulfilling than being in company.
I love being alone.
And even though I have already been aware of this for a while – I know know, that apart from being the freest I could get, being all by myself in a foreign city is the perfect situation of inevitably living in mostly every aspect of solitude and finding out, sooner or later, all the layers of being alone, and that it does not at all mean the same as being lonely.
How do you even come back to yourself? There are definitely certain songs that help to remind me of who I am. Sometimes it’s just lying down and thinking – to process in my own way what’s whizzing through my head. Being in touch with items that I have had for a long time. Allowing all feelings. Being alone is familiar and intimate.
Being yourself can be difficult with other people. But it’s possible. And although it is the bases to many, living in solitude all the time isn’t the only way you can be yourself completely.
If you have spent enough time figuring out who that is, there will come a point in which you will accidentally speak in your native tongue to your foreign friend. You will because it sits well with you. Because maybe you have unknowingly, comfortably invited them into your most truthful experience. You have shared your aloneness with someone else’s self.
This is the feeling we refer to when we talk about human connection.
In my first weeks in Paris I met Deni. We didn’t really know many other people here yet, and we started talking about an exhibition that we both really wanted to see. We never actually went there in the end, but we started to meet on Sundays in a Cafe at Canal Saint Martin, to work on our own projects while still spending time with each other. Those Sundays felt very inspiring and familiar to me at the same time. I really was myself, and I think we were already „being alone together”, months before we shot this series.
These snippets are remnants of what happened when we got together at her apartment on a February Saturday and took turns sharing those parts of our lives that matter to us deeply and that we usually enjoy by ourselves, starting with her room.
Silence, music from Schmieds Puls, her next book of choice – “Reductionism in Art and Brain Science”, our best Parisian companions – the tangerines, as well as thoughts on and ways of feeling comfortable in our bodies.
As the afternoon went on, I took these and more photographs of her, bit by bit opening up new levels of bonding and ending up with more layers to a creative process than ever before.