- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-6144-4
- Pages: 248
- Price: £85.00
- Published Date: March 2024
- Series: Anthropology, Creative Practice and Ethnography
This remarkably unique book takes the conceit of the loneliness room to show how everyday artistic practice opens up loneliness to new definitions and new understandings. Refusing to pathologise loneliness, the book draws on the creative submissions supplied by its participants to demonstrate that being lonely can mean different things to different people in differing contexts. Filled with the photographs, paintings, videos, songs, and writings of its participants, The loneliness room is a deeply moving account of loneliness today.
This wonderful book made me rethink loneliness. The loneliness room, which each of us can make our own embraces the isolation of loneliness and its creativity and regenerative potential. This creativity is manifest in the artistic expressions of art, photography, cinema literature poetry and music which frame the chapters. Beautiful stories of the routines of life from walking back alone after taking children to school, to inner city life, the alleys of Hanoi, are interwoven with artistic accounts. Loneliness rooms provide some escape from the constraints of poverty, social exclusion and patriarchy, but can also be chronic and compulsive. They are embodied and expressive; contemplative and scary; sad but joyous.
Professor Kath Woodward, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences & Global Studies, Sociology, Open University, UK
'Loneliness is here both a bottomless well and a spring of joy' - this quote from The Loneliness Room, is indicative of the way the meanings of loneliness explode on every page and take flight in new directions. Drawing on a rich and diverse range of artistic, creative, everyday, and contemporary interactions, the book wrestles with over-easy definitions, just as it challenges the uneven conditions of late capitalism. To understand the intellectual reach of a creative ethnography read this book, but to explore the complexity of our lonely hearts and their generative potential, you need to sit with it awhile, take on the book's rhythm, and then set aside space for hope.
Helen Wood, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of Lancaster.
There is an elegant, elegiac, quality in the Loneliness Room, where Sean Redmond dwells upon the essence, reasons for and experience(s) of loneliness drawing on an exceptional methodological mosaic of creative participatory ethnography and autoethnography. The Loneliness Room, intended as a creative canvass where people talk about and (re)present their loneliness, is an academic piece of work about loneliness with unprecedented originality and artistry, poetically delivered and premised upon the audio-visual, sensory and artistic narratives of its participants, while also drawing from different kinds of media production (cinematic, documentary, photographic, music, sonic, social media) and is set within a 'pandemic imagination'. Through its pages, the 'ordinary lonely' are given voice to ponder and discuss their loneliness, bypassing the academic 'expert'. Redmond exposes and unravels the web of loneliness, making it palpable. Whether as a state of abject or a celebration of the freedom of the soul, the Loneliness Room explores the dialectic between the sadness and beauty of loneliness. The book is offered as a gateway into our understanding of loneliness, each chapter being envisaged as a separate room within the beehive of loneliness; in fact, each chapter is set as a 'building block' within the larger narrative of loneliness, each block being 'threaded' upon the next. This way, chapters work as conduits into the heart of what loneliness is, how it feels, sounds and tastes for us all. Being lonely will never be the same again!.
Professor Liza Tsaliki, Department of Communication and Media Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
The Loneliness Room is a stunning book of creativity and compassion that speaks in ways large and small to a shared experience - we all get lonely from time to time along life's journey. Using a diverse archive that includes autobiographical writing, feature films, poetry, sound, gender and cultural theory, and the responses of ordinary people like you and me, Sean Redmond has here crafted a moving and innovative ethnography that gives shape and form to an ideology of loneliness that illustrates its broader connections to therapy culture, neoliberal capitalism, and the liquid speed of modernity. This book offers a much-needed reflection on the necessities of loneliness, the ache of existential space, and the solace we might provide one another through a community of words, images, and ideas.
Brenda R. Weber
Provost Professor and Jean C. Robinson Scholar, Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
1 The loneliness room: a creative ethnography of loneliness
2 Lonely emulsion: the loneliness in photography
3 Dim the lights: loneliness in cinema
4 Lonely realities: documenting loneliness
5 None but the lonely heart: the sounds of loneliness
6 Lonely words: writing loneliness in the post digital age
7 A pandemic of creative loneliness
Conclusion: if nobody speaks of loneliness rooms
Sean Redmond is Professor of Film and Television at Deakin University.