In conjunction with The Girls Andrea Blood and Zoe Sinclair (award winning artists) from The Paper Eaters and designer Sara Arnesen, Pandora’s Thoughts explores the expansive loneliness that can be felt in one of the largest and most crowded cities in the world.
London fills you with the expectation and anticipation of being noticed, standing out and being whoever you want to be - but who are you if no one knows your there?
People make various attempts at standing apart from the vast amounts of people that surround them, either by experimenting with outlandish or innovative dress or ideology, donning tattoos or making any other such bold statement about who they are and what they are made of. This can be a way of trying to promote their inner spirit and individuality, or it has been argued that it may act as a barrier of intimidation to keep people away.
The population as a whole are busy. The rush rush of it all forces us to close our eyes and shut ourselves off from the bold people around us, because well, we already have friends. We don’t have time for this. So we cover our face with the Metro, we pretend to be engrossed in a particularly poignant piece about Jordan and Alex Reid, juuuust long enough so that we can step off the tube and return to that which we know, and that which knows us back.
As an experiment, Pandora's Thoughts placed a model bearing the juice of her very make up literally on her sleeve (and chest and face and back) in – Newsprint. The type of statements we cut out of the newspapers were deep and personal and if someone stopped long enough to read them, would give them a good idea of who our model was. So - would they stop? Would their interest be piqued and force them to come and introduce themselves to our model and find out a little more?
The code of conduct in London, is that if you see someone drawing attention to themselves in any way, deliberate or not, you must look away and avoid eye contact. (“Dear God I hope they don’t stop and try to talk to me, I just want to get to my meeting!”) In the following pictures you can see that most people didn’t look twice at Melissa. Those who did mostly did so with scorn. One lady even snarled “you’re taking up the pavement you know!” The only people who stopped were tourists who took a few photo’s, “Thanks luv!” and moved on, which is all well and good but – they live in Canterbury and are 80 years old and perhaps not the best clubbing partners!
We hoped we would have been proven wrong, that someone would have made Melissa a friend having seen her obvious desire to put herself out there. A Facebook friend at least! But no such luck. It would seem that in a city where you can have nearly 8 million neighbours, you can still be the loneliest person in the world.