January 2010 – Connection in an Isolating Age

 

Welcome to the January 2010 issue of Synchronized Chaos! Our editorial team hopes this magazine release date finds you warm and dry, or cool and happy, depending on wherever you live.

This month our contributors worked with different aspects of communication and connection despite the obstacles of our time – hence, the monthly theme, from the soundtrack to the musical RENT, where frustrated young artists express their hopes for bringing people together through their work and in their own lives.

In some ways, technology connects people much more effectively than ever before. One can call or email people one likely never would have met back in the days of small medieval village life. Yet, as communication becomes faster and faster, we can become so used to immediate updates on the news and on others’ lives that we neglect to invest time and attention in the people around us. William Brixton highlights this contrast in his two short pieces involving highly connected, yet highly confused and distracted, characters, “Text Message” and “The Two Week Solution.” Relationship building takes time and occurs in a context of mutual familiarity and trust, rather than the brevity and immediacy technology can facilitate. Small talk often goes beyond 140 Twitter characters and can run up one’s text-messaging bill – yet this prelude to a deeper connection builds the trust which eventually makes greater levels of intimacy possible.

Joseph Urso introduces a bit of postmodern philosophical fancy, reminiscent of Saint-Exupery, with a fly on the wall who becomes a prophet in order to awaken and distract humans from vain schemes to conquer the world. Here we look into what lengths people (or flies) will go to in order to communicate with each other, and what that connection might look like from another perspective.

Javier Clorio’s documentary Road to Nowhere allows Mexican immigrants working in the United States a chance to share their stories and directly address native-born Americans. Clorio crosses cultural barriers, and literally translates the narrative from Spanish to English, so people may have a chance to connect with each other. We are able to see the commonalities and connections among seemingly disparate people – Americans, and Mexicans, attempting to live the American Dream of material progress and success.

Returning poet Dee Allen bears witness to the fallout when inter-cultural communication breaks down. His contributions this month express his rage at the effects of generations of racism, and at feeling alienated from the Olympics and from mainstream culture in general. Yet, we also see his pride, and defiant assertion through writing that he will continue to exist in his own right and stand for what he believes.

Aerosol paint artist Max Ehrman asserts his vision through a medium which positions his artwork directly in people’s path: spraypaint on walls. Through legal graffiti outlets and eventually art galleries, he connects with others by placing outsized seahorses, palm trees, and other organically inspired images out for public discussion. In Ehrman’s vision, nature comes into the depths of the city, and bright color adorns plain brick and concrete.

Claudine Naganuma, and the rest of danceNaganuma and Peace about Life: Dancing With Parkinson’s cast, crew and ensemble also communicate through contrasts. They cast dancers of a mixture of ages, ethnicities, and physical abilities to metaphorically and literally express how to cope and keep one’s life beautiful even through age and disease.

Cynthia Lamanna’s son Elijah’s poem, recently rediscovered after his passing, also deals with loss and inevitable life change. In honor of a cousin who became like a little sister to him, the piece celebrates their relationship by describing how the sight of their special garden causes him to miss her. Her absence becomes all the more poignant, as he does not describe all that he has lost, but all the beauty which still surrounds him in the garden, but how even that cannot compensate.

Elijah Lamanna’s work illustrates our perennial need for connection and the beauty of communicating and building relationships with others, despite the very real challenges our busy lives and economic uncertainty throw our way. Through this issue, our contributors celebrate and honor this need, and we invite you to connect with the stories they share.

Happy New Year to all those who observe it this January!