Being young in the city can be difficult for an introvert. I find myself being pulled in two directions: what I feel like images of my life should be and what truly makes me happy. These are often at odds with one another. In a city that never sleeps, being young usually means that the time that one takes to unwind consists of going out to parties, or being with others. But how can one ever find quietness when there is always so much to do and take in? I have worried that, because I prefer to spend my time alone, that I am not taking full advantage of the city space. Maybe I’m not. But the problem that fueled my final project is not rooted directly in that conflict - it is in the contradiction between my relishing in my time alone when so much is telling me I shouldn’t. From television shows to social media, it seems that being alone has become synonymous with being sad or boring. When I am alone, I am neither.
Ideas and questions of representation were also something that I wanted to keep in mind in approaching this discord - while the trope of male aloneness is repeatedly perceived as brooding and masculine, females and non-binary people taking on this human need for time alone is seen more often in a negative light. For them to be alone and to simply be happy and powerful is in itself an act of rebellion against damaging double standards.
I know that the discrepancy between wanting to adhere to an idea of youth and the reality of where I find fulfillment are not unique to me - this desire is a part of the human experience. So, for my final project, I sought out young people living within the city who, though their lives are vastly different than my own, also actively seek contentment in their time alone. These are those people and their spaces where, for even a brief moment, their worlds go quiet and they revel in their own presence. 2016.