Welcome to Intimate Spaces / Intimate Distances.

This began as a research and cataloging project into the intimate spaces of our lives: the body, relationships, dark corners of crowded bars, the notes on our phones, public bathrooms, etc. Quickly I started to wonder, what do these spaces look like when they are unwanted or unintended: packed subways, densely populated cities, overcrowded prisons; or when they’re relatively new: online relationships, ride sharing, social media oversharing. Ultimately I was asking, as the intimate spaces of our lives change, how do we as humans change?

From January to early March, this was the question. But, as you are probably well aware, perhaps even inundated by, the middle of March saw the dissolution of all realities as we knew them (for many at this point these realities had already begun dissolving).

I struggled to continue my research, and for a long time I completely stopped. I was stubborn. I had planned to design and print a book, to put together a large textile installation, and collaborate with fellow students; all of which were no longer possible. Eventually, I begrudgingly decided it was time to keep going. And then one night while doing research, looking at stock photos of models holding hands, models holding hands who were strangers to me, strangers who were likely strangers to each other, I broke down. I grieved the distance of my own partner, of friends, of the life I had created and taken for granted, of the loss of so much intimacy in so many ways.

I knew I had to adjust my project, but I also knew that I couldn’t change it entirely. Intimate spaces were still there, perhaps even more relevant than before, they had just shifted. Now there was an order for social distancing, a need to restrict our own bodies as a radical gesture of care. The question, like the spaces, shifted: how do we make sense of / maintain intimacy with six feet between the bodies of our friends, family, lovers, strangers, etc.?

Intimate Spaces / Intimate Distances is about creating tools to visualize and understand this space; finding ways to reinterpret it, to make it more comfortable or perhaps even more beautiful; and to create a new kind of intimacy. The project is on-going. As the present moment continuously shifts, I aim to continue responding to and adapting along with it. Starting this was important for me, but continuing it has taken on a sense of urgency.

In times of uncertainty we have a choice to be kind or to be cruel, to find intimacy in unexpected places or to create even more distance. My hope is that by offering an option for positive action, we may be encouraged to choose the former.

With love and warmth,