Photo by Anna Camilleri
In 2018, I moved back to Toronto after living in the UK for 15 years. While away, I’d become completely blind. Instead of a return to familiar landscapes and buildings, I came back to a void – endless space. Without sight, new territory has no here-versus-there, no this-versus-that. “May I take your arm?” is a question I asked several people living in my new Toronto neighborhood in an attempt to understand where in the world I had landed – to turn space into place into home.
- Alex Bulmer
Welcome to May I Take Your Arm?
...a blind-led artistic collaboration by Alex Bulmer, Tristan R. Whiston, Anna Camilleri, Katie Yealland, Becky Gold & Wy Joung Kou.
Together, we made a show presented now as a multidisciplinary experience housed on this website. It features the original audio piece that was first workshopped with an audience in 2018, the livestream video production that was re-imagined in June 2020, new elements including limited-edition tactile books, and so much more. (Find more in “May I Have A Table of Contents?” below)
You are invited to take in this material in any order you wish and in your own time; however, our recommendation would be to open your book if you have one and begin with the original audio. We also encourage you to experience the work outside – to move around your neighbourhood, to find a special place to sit while you listen, watch, or read.
May I Have A Table of Contents?
Welcome to May I Take Your Arm?: a virtual stage
run time: 39 min
Full audio of the first live iteration of May I Take Your Arm? in 2018
Artist Statement - Tristan R. Whiston
Info on the 2021 limited edition series of 200 handmade pocket accordion books
Artist Statement - Anna Camilleri
8 tracks - total run time: 57 min
Meet the storywalkers - Zahra, Vikesh, Trisha, Ronnie, Benton, Dwayne, Silvia, & Enrique - through new audio compositions created from archival recordings of storywalks originally captured in 2018
Artist Statement - Wy Joung Kou
4 calls - total run time: 30 min
Selected excerpts of a letter to the audience, written by Alex Bulmer in 2020
Special Message from Alex about her guide dog Zeus
run time: 52 min
Recording of livestream audio-visual performance of May I Take Your Arm? from FOLDA 2020 (Festival of Live Digital Art)
Artist Statement - Katie Yealland
Alex Bulmer calls 4 storywalkers in 2021 for one-on-one catch ups, and asks “tell me about something you keep in your home”
Artist Statement - Becky Gold
This website is optimized for screen readers using Firefox and NVDA.
All audio tracks have transcripts attached to them, viewable in-browser or as downloadable .docx files.
As we come together through digital technology, it is important that we consider the legacies of colonization embedded within this technology. The high speed internet central to Red Dress Productions’ and Theatre Passe Muraille’s activities are not available in many rural and Indigenous communities. Digital technologies also have significant carbon footprints, contributing to changing climates that disproportionately affect Indigenous peoples worldwide.
May I Take Your Arm? began with walks in Tkaronto's St. Jamestown/Cabbagetown neighbourhood, in the Don River / Wonscotonach watershed. Wonscotonach is the Anishnaabemowin place name for the Lower Don River.
For over 15,000 years, Tkaronto has been a site of human activity – ancestral, current and unceded Territories of the Anishinaabe, Wendat nations and the Haudenosaunee, in Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory that reminds us that we all accountable to and responsible for this planet, and that we all need to be caretakers of the space we occupy together.
As visitors, guests, and settlers in this territory, it is important that we take time to reflect on our collective histories -- as individuals, families, and communities -- of how we came to be on this territory, whether it was by choice, by force, or displacement, and how our presence here impacts Indigenous peoples.
Click HERE to learn about the territories, languages and treaties associated with the land you are on.