The loneliness room

A creative ethnography of loneliness

Sean Redmond
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The loneliness room is a real or imagined space where people experience loneliness as a site or location of aching despair, or conversely, as a source of regeneration or reincarnation. The Loneliness Room explores not simply the devastating isolation of chronic loneliness but the social, creative, and experiential possibilities of the lonely imagination which is suggested sits naturally within all of us. To get inside or to better understand what these lonely rooms are, the book draws upon creative participatory ethnography. Its pages are culled and curated from the creative stories of ordinary people who were asked to use the idea of the loneliness room to submit sound and music pieces, video and essay films, photography, poetry, paintings, and drawings, alongside questionnaire responses, that captured their personal interpretation of what they felt were the threads and fibres of loneliness. The Loneliness Room also works on the premise that people get their shared understanding of loneliness through cultural and artistic forms, particularly screen art media, and that they often express what their understanding of loneliness is through the telling of stories and embodied descriptions that are in lockstep with these creative mediums. When seeking to express how they feel about loneliness, ordinary people often refer to artists and art forms whose work swims in lonely exchanges. The artistic sounds and images of loneliness become constitutive of, and foundational to, the embodied experience of being lonely. The audiovisual representations of loneliness, then, and one’s understanding and experience of it, are essentially entangled, as The Loneliness Room will also go on to explore and evidence.

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