Unless you’re one of the fortunate who can be the life of any party, you’ve probably experienced a moment at a social gathering when your font of small talk dries up or felt the agony of a zinger that pops into your head too late.
It’s a familiar sensation for artist Sarah Weinstock.
“I’ve always struggled with words. I often think of what to say long after the fact, but in the moment I don’t have the words, so I don’t feel like dealing with speaking,” she said.
One night at a friend’s party after a stressful day, Weinstock didn’t have to. The get-together had one rule: no talking. Guests interacted with gestures and improvised games.
The experience pulled her out of her own head and inspired Friday’s “No-Talking Dance Party!” at It Looks Like It’s Open.
It’ll follow the same steadfast guideline, starting with a light-strewn area of silence and explanatory signage on the Clintonville space’s tiny lawn (the rule also applies to texting and writing of any kind). Weinstock is creating a playlist of lyric-free electronic dance music for the night’s soundtrack. Otherwise, it’ll be a mostly free-form happening.
As Weinstock explained, “I’m going to sprinkle the vicinity with different kinds of fabrics, as the main toy to play with. I imagine it’ll just evolve into a playful environment.”
She hopes that with conversation out of the way and few other rules in place, guests will let their imaginations run loose. Beyond a night of fun, the experience could inspire creative ideas in others, or the forming of new interpersonal connections in an unconventional way.
“I’m not imposing a lot of structure, to see what pans out,” Weinstock said.
So far, she added, “I’ve gotten a lot of really excited feedback. I’m glad that it’s resonating.”
Weinstock acknowledged that the thought of partying without speaking can seem as awkward for some as the experience of forced chit chat can be for others. But she hopes that a relaxed atmosphere will warm visitors up to a different kind of social behavior. She also admitted that temporary awkwardness isn’t always a bad thing.
“Sometimes being in an uncomfortable place can be the most fun,” she said.