I’ve always been a fan of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Whether it is because of a genuine appreciation for their activism work or a strange fetishization of everything experimental and liberated in the 1970s- I haven’t decided. What I do know is that Reena Katz’s Harbourfront performance of “love takes the worry out of being close’, inspired by the couples bed-in sessions is an art piece that I, personally, can get behind morally and aesthetically. Even the title of the piece struck me, and many questions came to mind. What does it mean to be close in an age of digital communication? Why the fear of intimacy and connection? And what’s love got to do (got to do) with it? ! ! Using the bed as a platform (or stage) for discussion and discourse, Reena Katz’s “love takes the worry out of being close” invited patrons to sit in, lie down and talk politics with LGBTQ folks, creating an intimate setting that can, at times, become a very susceptible space for participants. Reena explained the horizontal position (lying down) as an orientation of vulnerability- it allows one to let their guard down and become comfortable with the LGBTQ folk running the performance. This may allow dialogue to be opened up and communicated in a way devoid of clinical coldness and academic judgement. In one of the clips Reena showed, a male patron was struggling to find the words to open up discourse because he wasn’t “academically trained” as he said. The other participants and organizers showed no sign of superiority or judgement and engaged him in a conversation about nationalism. To provoke thought and discourse in an intimate setting is a really interesting way to make one think of their bodies and minds as political tools for social change.! ! Lingering once again on the title of the performance (I can’t stop thinking about it!), I think this may be what Reena means by “love” taking out the worry of being close. Love, in this performance, is an acceptance and openness to new ideas, discourses and political conversation. Love also may mean the comfort of a calming space like a bedroom (or maybe sexual love in the bedroom too?). There are many layers to this analogy. It is particularly interesting to question how we achieve that comfort and openness in an age of mainly digital communication; does a cellphone or computer conversation give you love? And if not, can this possibly explain a distancing effect in the way we relate to each other? Reena also spoke about affect as an important component of a piece like “love takes the worry out of being close”. I recall Sydney Tyber’s article, “How Can We Talk About Affect in Digital Performance?” speaking to this possibility - but does that extend to affect in digital communication like Facebook? To me, there is a distancing effect to these mediums of communication, a sort of removal from a “true” self- because in my opinion our Facebook profiles are nothing more than simulated, heightened projections of the parts of ourselves we want known to the world. There is also a great deal of self-editing that makes our online personas less real than, say, a face-to- face conversation in a bed at the Harbourfront Centre. This is what makes a piece like “love takes the worry out of being close” so critical and unique. It creates the potential for true affect and true closeness which are key in organizing and discussing political and social change.