close-up photo of Alex projected onto a wall in a low-lit space. She holds a ball wrapped in twine, close to her face. In front of the wall is a small table with a miniature garden on it in a spotlight.

Photo by Anna Camilleri

The Letter

written by Alex Bulmer in 2020

"Throughout the original show, I asked members of the audience, may I take your arm? Those who said yes offered their arm and together we walked from miniature world to miniature world. For me, this interaction was an essential element of the performance. In 2020, with no audience to walk with, I decided to write a letter which I presented throughout the livestream digital adaptation. Below are selected excerpts of this letter. (By the way, I prefer getting sweaty and nervous minutes before the show, entering the space, hearing someone cough, and the possibility of it sinking or singing.)"

- Alex Bulmer

1 -

23 centimetres

Of predicting, knowing and not knowing –

Where am I?

 

Without the immediacy of sight

Unexplored territory has no here-versus-there, no this-versus-that

No boundaries, no architecture, no geography, no fixed points.

 

It is endless space.

 

What does “here I am” mean anyway?

 

Until place exists, I do not exist within it.

 

If I walk with you

Can we create

Architecture of story

geography of memory

 

2 -

Touch

The absent becomes present with a mere touch of the hand

A little miracle put under quarantine.

 

How will I move through this?

Maybe there’s something to hang on to, something between us.

 

3 -

A L I E N

Alien

 

Touch the word

One braille cell at a time

The letter A – one single elevation

The other five

Represented by absence.

 

Absence

 

My senses

 

So much time inside, now.

 

I’m afraid my body is losing the knowledge of “here I am”.

 

I want wind in the trees

Birds having a chat

The occasional tree branch in my face

A child’s bouncing ball

A splash.

 

 

4 -

Tension

Being sensitive to each other’s pull

 

Tension

Being insensitive to each other’s pull

 

Yesterday

To stay with me at home

I wanted flowers.

 

I walked out, on my own,

For the second time

To the local store.

 

When I went in

People shouted at me

To leave.

 

Physical distancing while blind is uncontrollable

Yesterday

Tension was too.

 

5 -

Walking and talking

We composed a rising orchestra of place

A sense of “here we are”.

 

“Here we are” has changed


The rhythms are different.

 

There used to be a tempo of coming and going

Like nobody actually lived here.

Now, there’s a tempo of staying

Before we knew how.

 

How does anyone turn space, into place, into home?

Alex, a human, & Zeus, a Black Labrador guide dog, pose together on the sidewalk
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During the making of this digital work, my internationally esteemed Guide Dog Zeus died. He was twelve and a half years old.
Zeus was my greatest walking companion. Together, we walked across the urban streets of London UK, across parks in Scotland, climbed hills in Summerset, ran the beaches of Cornwall, trekked through the snowy sidewalks of Toronto, romped the fields of Puslinch and stole a few bacon sandwiches in cafes across the world.
Zeus lived in London UK for eight years and in Toronto for just over four. Wherever he lived, whatever space he laid his furry head, he so knew how to turn space into place into home.
 
I have heard it said, and hope it may be true:
“let me be the person my dog already thinks I am”
- Alex Bulmer
Co-Creator, Performer