If you’ve visited the town of Aldershot, Ashford and Woolwich (and many more) in the UK, you have probably come across Nepali elderly men and women (baje and boju’s) hanging in the public parks and taking a rest in the benches and enjoying the sun or simply engaging in a conversation about their past or their present. It is definitely an interesting sight to see especially if you live in an area where you do not come across Nepalese people on a daily.
The Bench Project by Esther Johnson is a unique project which captures the thoughts and memories of frequent users of two public spaces in London: General Gordon Square, Woolwich and
St Helier Open Space, Sutton. The synopsis of the film reads “The film acts like a stranger who joins you on a bench to ‘watch the world go by’, and break the ice by starting a conversation with their fellow bench user.” I love the line “Alone Together, the Social Life of Benches”. ‘Alone together’ can also be applied to many of our social engagements, think about the times that we meet our friends and sadly find ourselves engaged in our phones more than talking to the person in front of us. Or when we’re at home with our family and the TV is on but we’re all hooked to our phones. Interesting times.
As the 3 minute extract from the film cannot be embedded on here, you can visit this link and watch it on Vimeo! The 18 minute long film by Johnson was created in 2015 and has been screened in various exhibitions and special events. Will have to check it out someday!