Me & My Shadow:
Embracing Solitary Moments
Me & My Shadow is a B.A. final year project which touches on the problem that people no longer have, or see the need to have, solitary moments in this highly social society.
“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
– Blaise Pascal
We live in a day and age where much emphasis is placed on communication, networking and group ideation – the need to be extremely social. Day in and day out, we are swarmed by text messages, emails, calls… And more often than not we would always be around people, pressured by the society to come out of our introverted selves and become adaptable social animals, or risk missing out on the best things in the world such as potential business deals, once in a lifetime opportunities, or simply, the good fun. If, ever, we are alone, we’d be plugged in to the world with our cellphones and gadgets.
This constant human engagement via physical or technological means creates a problem in this society – that Man no longer have, or see a need to have, “alone time” in their lives to recharge and restore their body and mind. Are we constantly socialising because we fear missing out, losing out and being alone? When then, can we eventually have time for ourselves, to breathe, to rest, to grasp reality, and to reflect on our lives?
Through a series of projects such as the building of temporary spaces for passersby to experience mental and physical solitariness, Me & My Shadow explores how the use of graphic design interventions can allow one to realise the importance of alone time in today’s highly social society.
The objectives are to educate the target audience on the misconceptions and importance of solitude, and explore whether moments of solitude can be created for the laymen using self-reflection and the creation of solitary space in the public area.
> View all of the Me & My Shadow projects together here
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Going Solo. is a publication of curated writings by people I know – personal stories, essays and poems – on solitude, mindfulness, space, and the environment.
Because the ways to which one can experience solitude are aplenty, solitude can be categorised into many types.
To New York University sociologist and historian Richard Sennett, there are three solitudes in the society. There is the solitude of isolation – imposed by power, the solitude of the dreamer – represented by non-conformists who seek revolution, and the solitude of difference – one based on the idea that there is a difference between being lonely and being alone, of having an inner life which is more than a reflection of the lives of others.
To artist Michael Lee, there is an additional solitude of the cosmos, referring to the solitary existence of elements beyond the human world, one that acknowledges the fact that humans are not the only beings capable of being in or subjected to solitary situations.
To me, solitude could simply mean being in a state of physical isolation or a mental state of self-reflection and thought. The bed, bathroom and bus are known as the 3 B’s of creativity, and these transitory and most of the time, solitary, moments often go unnoticed, unappreciated and taken for granted by us, who find joy in fiddling with our phones and chatting up with friends 24/7. Apart from embracing the transitory moments, solitude could also mean us, holing up or shutting ourselves out from the world; us, getting away from the world; or us, going about the daily routine alone.
There is just so much to discuss about what solitude means to us apart from the socially-constructed views on the detrimental effects of the acceptance of solitariness – often associated with, but not necessarily including, introversion – in the society.
The writings are accompanied by photography taken from an unplanned solo journey to “anywhere the bus takes me”.