The Subtle Effects of Living Backwards

Part of Happenstance by Decoy, Vancouver BC

Curated by Whitney Brennan

Performance with Bryce Kristopher Paul Agecoutay and Minimal Violence

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”
— The White Queen to Alice, Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

“The old man lifted the light, in the form of a beautiful, incandescent ball, from the final box and tossed it to his grandson.”
— Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst, The Raven Steals the Light, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1984.



Roderick Main, in his 1997 book Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal wrote: “The culmination of Jung’s lifelong engagement with the paranormal is his theory of Synchronicity, the view that the structure of reality includes a principle of a causal connection which manifests itself most conspicuously in the form of meaningful coincidences”. Modern Psychologists would categorize these types of occurrences as apophina, the mistaken detection of a pattern or meaning in random or meaningless data, however abnormal physical experiences can connect us to a deeper self, perhaps even to a place of greater understanding. It is this profound scene of wonder that defies our rational scenes and opens us up to a metaphorical world where we can sense the pre-colonial values embedded within our urban public spaces.

Vancouver as a new city of steal and glass seems to loom over the Coast Salish territory promoting an ever growing class of modern citizens. This does not however, remove the possibility of a trans-formative group experience randomly occurring in a public space. Without a conscious effort to view the world rationally small coincidences can evoke a strong emotional response depending on the viewers point of view and sensory exposure.

The Subtle Effects of Living Backwards was a one day performance that took place at the corner of Homer St. and Hastings St. as part of Happenstance by Decoy.