May I Take Your Arm?

May I Take Your Arm?

An interdependent, audio art installation

Created by Alex Bulmer, Anna Camilleri, Tristan R. Whiston
Live video animation by Katie Yealland

Emerging from audio recorded walks between blind artist Alex Bulmer and storytellers who provided sighted guide, the artist ‘takes us by the arm’ to walk, listen, and share stories of place in this tactile installation. Journey through this multidimensional piece that considers the past, illuminates the present, and evokes possible futures.

If we walk together, does the way we ‘see’ our neighbourhood change?

In April 2018, I moved into a Toronto apartment in the east end. I knew little about the area, the neighbours, the local history. Although I had spent nearly 16 years in the city between 1988 and 2004, when I left Toronto, the city for me had started at Dufferin St. and ended at Church St.

Throughout that space and that time, I transitioned from living sighted to living blind.

On my return to Toronto, I struggled to reconnect to this place I once called home. It felt more like an undefined, space of noise to push through, rather than an actual place, a landscape to encounter, with people to relate to and understand.

May I Take Your Arm was born from a need to understand where I am, a need to turn space into place into home. Through partnership with Red Dress Productions, we turned this need into interdependent walking audio art.

I walked with people from the local community, mostly people I’d never met before. We shared stories, memories, and descriptions of what we encountered together and how we engaged with place and home. The way we ‘saw’ our world was forever changed.

— Alex Bulmer

Installation photo from May I Take Your Arm?

May I Take Your Arm is about interdependence, relationships between people, our relationship to the St. James Town and Cabbagetown neighbourhoods, and the land upon which these neighbourhoods are settled.

About Alex Bulmer

Alex is a fellow of the BBC Performing Arts and the Winston Churchill Foundation. In 2014, she was named one of the most influential disabled artists by UK’s Power magazine.

Upcoming events

None currently.

Funders: Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, National Arts Centre, English Theatre (The Collaborations)