Thrust into a new city with one goal in mind — finding someone you have never met or even seen before, within 28 days — sounds daunting.
Robin Lambert’s social experiment examined the idea of searching for someone who is also searching for you.
Lambert’s project asked two people to try to find each other in a city they didn’t really know within a month.
The artist and educator at Red Deer College got the idea from an off-the-cuff remark he made to a friend asking what if they were both lost and trying to find each other.
“That stuck with me and I wrote the idea on the wall,” said Lambert. “From there, it kind of grew and I came back to Red Deer and kept working on it until it grew to what it was.”
The people in the project were given little to go on, but had the goal of finding their counterpart in the experiment within a month.
Lambert tried it twice, once in Vancouver and once in Montreal, with different people both times. In Vancouver, the two people found each other within 14 days, while in Montreal they never met.
“When you give someone a project like that, they both have a strong desire to complete it but it kind of competes with their own sense of loneliness and abandonment,” said Lambert, adding one participant was really frustrated after the 10th day and thought nothing was working.
“They were able to delve into their own desires. What they’re looking for or where they are planning on going. It gave them a lot of time to think.”
Lambert said they used many means to try to track each other down, including signs and posters, and even going on the radio and putting out a call to find the other person.
In Montreal, the two came very close to meeting as they were both at the same drum circle at the bottom of Mount Royal, but both sat with signs.
“He decided to sit there with a sign and wait for someone to come to him and she did the same thing,” said Lambert.
“Had one of them made the decision to look, they might have found each other.
“In your own life, (the experiment shows) how those little decisions might make a big difference.”
Lambert hopes to try his experiment one more time, in San Francisco.
This project and five others were honoured by Red Deer College as a part of its annual recognition of scholarly work.
Also honoured were Laura Davis for her article on Obasan by Joy Kogawa.
The story is about a Japanese-Canadian who is sent to an internment camp during the Second World War. Davis said in her article that Kogawa gestures towards healing anti-racism, but in no way implies the healing is done and that the racism is over.
Davis was also honoured along with Roger Davis for their textbook Essay Writing for Canadian Students with Readings, 7th edition. This was an update to an existing text that colleagues had worked on.
Brandi Robinson, who works in the college’s kineseology and sports studies department, was honoured for incorporating community service learning into the adapted physical education diploma program. She said they took a practicum-type experience and moved it towards a service-learning opportunity, asking people in the community what students can provide that has practical value.
Larry Reese and James Wilson put together a documentary outlining the how actors, directors, artists and musicians are creative. Called Mapping Creativity, the documentary was two-and-a-half years in the making. It looks at the creative process and how individual it can be.
Dale Wheeler was honoured for his solo piano recital tour throughout Alberta. The recitals, Liszt Extravaganza, focused on the work of Franz Liszt.
Each year, RDC awards a total of $10,000 to recognize significant scholarly undertakings by full-time faculty members.