The Space Between You and Me

Bob Lysay &
Agnieszka Matejko
May 4 - June 19, 2017


Project Website

The Space Between You and Me addresses a relatively common medical condition in a uniquely positive, uplifting way. The videos in this installation depict youth living with Tourette Syndrome (TS), as well as original dance choreography and images of nature inspired by these youth. Together, the various layers create an atmosphere of calm, courage and humour in the face of what most of us would perceive as adversity. The insights of the youth into their medical condition are both remarkable and surprising.

Paige, a fourteen-year-old mutual acquaintance of the artists who developed life-altering Tourette Syndrome, was the inspiration for The Space Between You And Me. Her courage, resilience and ability to face new challenges motivated them to create this artwork. Paige’s TS forces her at times to keep a space between herself and others for their protection. Students leave a space around her at assemblies and in line-ups. Although she understands the need for this, it is hurtful. Despite these boundaries, she developed close friends who know the price of being in her space but willingly accept it. It was Paige’s suggestion that the artists title the installation

“The Space Between You and Me”.

This project came to include six other youth participants who were referred to the artists through the Tourette Foundation, Edmonton Chapter, and the office of Dr. Carroll,a child psychiatrist. The ability of these youth to not only accept, but value their condition as an inherent part of nature forms the inspiration behind this project.

The installation consists of three synchronized video images. Each video addresses a different, but interrelated theme:

• Interviewsconducted with seven teens with Tourette Syndrome.
• Original interpretive dance performed and choreographed by Kira
Guloien; Tourette movements inspired the choreography.
• Nature imagery which emphasizes a rich variety of motion in the natural world.

The final theme of nature reflects comments of the youth participants who consider TS to be a natural part of themselves and not something to battle or eradicate. The youth in the installation offer a challenging message about the value of diversity, and the acceptance of a wide spectrum of health issues. The goal of this work is to generate discussions about cultural perceptions of health and illness.

The artists acknowledge the support of:
MacEwan Research Office (Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Achievements), MacEwan Centre for the Arts and Communications (CFAC) - Scholarly Activity Grant,  Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada - Edmonton Chapter, Edmonton Arts Council (City of Edmonton)  - Community Investment Program, Alberta Foundation for the Arts- Multidisciplinary Grant Program, and Cratex Industries Ltd. (shipping crate supplier).