We live in a time of disconnect and confusion. Continuing inequality, an uprising of populist alt-far-right governments and movements, Brexit, Trumpism, climate change, terrorism (international and domestic), and toxic social media are leading us toward a world of anger and fear. In these times the need for people to connect with one another is more relevant and greater than ever before.

connect’ by Sylvia Schwenk is a work of social importance that has a powerful positive message to empower us to create the world we want to live in. The project is a catalyst for change that reminds us of our own humanity by allowing us to see ourselves in others.

connect’ presents stories and interactions that build intrigue about who we are and how we relate to one another. The project includes multi-channel films showing a social and visual portrait of over 160 people – from local communities in the USA (New York City), Germany (Schöppingen, Berlin), and Spain (Blanca) – sharing their private stories and thoughts in an honestly refreshing way, as they answer 5 universal questions and offer a gesture of love.

The questions are: 

  • What makes you happy?
  • What are you scared of?
  • What do you love the most?
  • What advice would you give your younger self?
  • What are your hopes for the future?

60 second extracts from each 20 minute film:

'What are you scared of?' - 60 second extract
'What do you love the most?' - 60 second extract
'What makes you happy?' - 60 second extract
'What advice would you give your younger self?' - 60 second extract
'What are your hopes for the future?' - 60 second extract

The feelings driving the project are true connection and a universal love for others that is simply based upon our shared humanity. These feelings are present in all of the works by virtue of the protagonists’ generosity and honesty, and they are especially present in the film ‘gestures’, where each of us is unconditionally offered feelings of genuine warmth and love by over 160 strangers.

'gestures' - 60 second extract

People can die from loneliness, fear, anger and sadness. The opposite can give life. If goodwill to others is irrelevant or unimportant, then what is important?

The world is full of possibilities. ‘connect’ provides an optimistic possibility, a hope for creating a world of shared humanity.

This work is supported by: