Doing Nothing on the Sly


I had a secret Nothing. An unannounced retreat that happened this past weekend. Though I had been planning this for some time, I mostly kept it under wraps with the idea that I probably wouldn’t talk about it publicly.

Why? Good question. Because despite the fact that this project is largely aiming to bridge the gap between art and life in the most far-reaching way possible, I still find myself holding certain cards very close to my chest. My Buddhist faith is one of them.

So what changed my mind? Good question. I experienced an incredible coalescing of timings; my dear cousin Susan (to whom I dedicate this post) died while I was on my way to the retreat. And as a result the weekend was spent holding grief and sorrow, while deepening an examination of those big life events – in particular, the sufferings of sickness and death. And this led to a peculiar, prolonged interstice.

Here is what I wrote in my journal:
“… Just how much did I realize / foresee that this retreat would be like a residence; an extension of the Doing Nothing project, but one that sits at the very centre of it. That straddles not only the intersection between art + life, but between life + death; this world + the next one; this space + time an extended interval that, by its very nature of existence (and geographical location) acts as the perfect place to be, to be receiving / locating / sitting with this circumstance so present: Susan’s passing. Her passage, and my own.


… And I don’t know that I’ve ever been in an in-between quite this long.
État Second.

The retreat as Time Outside of Time.”

Author: Victoria Stanton

Montreal-based performance artist, writer, and educator Victoria Stanton explores live action, human interaction, video, film, photography, and drawing.

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