You may remember a while back that I observed the Earthlings Experience in action here.
I have always wanted to come and experience it from the other side of the mask.
The whole point of the mask is to remain faceless and direct the focus on what is happening on the screens. It focus on the animals and the acts of cruelty and their suffering. It also grabs the attention of the general public and people passing by in the hope that people can stop to watch the screens and make the connection.
We started the day by meeting in a local coffee shop. It was a good opportunity to talk to friends that I hadn’t seen it in a while and to get to know people who I hadn’t met before. We then took a walk to the space in the middle of Fringe Festival Edinburgh and through the crowds. Once we got there, the first timers (that’s me!) were briefed on what to do and what not to do before joining the circle.
I was going to wear a mask and hold a sign. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to hold a screen, knowing the cruelty that was being portrayed. It would have been heart-breaking for me and luckily there was no sound on the screens. I also got to hand out leaflets.
We then set up with mask, signs and screens and created a circle. The screens were displaying UK specific footage. There were people that were not masked to approach the public that had showed interest and create a conversation about why we there. They also checked to see if the screens were still running and that everyone in the circle were ok.
I tried to make eye contact with the public and encourage them to take a leaflet. In the streets of Edinburgh, being leafleted in the middle of the Fringe Festival is very popular.
The initial reaction of the public was intrigue and interest. Everyone reacted in a different way, some turned a blind eye when they realised what we were doing, some were interested and approached us. We attracted a lot of tourists and we had our picture taken a number of times. We also had our own photographer Simon who took some amazing shots of us here.
One particular reaction that stood out to me what a young lady approached us and was watching and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing, I think at one point she was crying. I had some empathy for her that was me two years in tears whilst watching Earthlings. I really hope that she made the connection that day like I did.
This is not easy work. When you are standing for two hours or more at a time, your back and legs hurt from the standing. You are holding a sign in the same position for quite some time and at the end my hands were numb. It is nothing in comparison to the pain and suffering of the animals. At least we could move around, the animals can’t do that at all.
I enjoyed my first Earthlings Experience. It felt so good to be a part of something that I am so passionate about. I am also made some amazing new friends along the way. I will be back to do it again.
Many Thanks to Simon Holdings for the photo below.