Screening during the “E-Work. Transcending Realities” event at Trauma Bar und Kino on October 26, this selection of short films, co-curated by 3hd Festival and Lou Drago offers an opportunity to reflect on the multifarious methods used to transcend one’s reality, with the hope of being able to view these actions from a non-judgmental place in order to reflect upon our own tools for escape and presence.
Escapism: the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.
The word ‘escapism’ can conjure negative connotations; guiltily shying away from responsibilities, away from reality. But what about when moments of relief provide the much needed energy to keep moving forward? Buddhist Pema Chödrön writes about the human ‘soft spot’, which enables us to feel the pain of others. This place of vulnerability scares us, so we unintentionally construct protective walls made of opinions, prejudices and strategies, barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt. We have endless strategies to provide ourselves with an illusion of security: whether it is external objects such as drugs, shopping or watching TV, through using our beliefs or attempting to achieve altered states of mind, like the high of adrenaline or falling in love.
Each of us have our strategies for avoiding ‘life as it is’, and when things become difficult or unpleasant it is often difficult to examine the situation and one’s relationship to it. Chödrön cautions that this habitual avoidance of vulnerability eventually depletes one’s ability to find joy in the everyday. There are parallels to Donna Haraway’s recent directive of ‘staying with the trouble’, addressing the challenge to look at a situation, as difficult as that may be.
It is interesting to consider that often it is within these moments of escape that we are simultaneously the most present with ourselves, but is it possible to differentiate when escapist strategies are enacted out of urgency—and therefore preserving or beneficial—and when they become habitual or even addictive? This selection of short films offers an opportunity to reflect on the multifarious methods used to transcend one’s reality, with the hope of being able to view these actions from a non-judgmental place in order to reflect upon our own tools for escape and presence.
— Lou Drago