A Unity of Experience: The Shared Rhythms of Only Wolves and Lions

  • James Layton University of Cumbria
Keywords: Bergson, time, pure duration, Lefebvre, rhythmanalysis, community, participation

Abstract

‘Only wolves and lions eat alone, you should not eat, not even a snack, on your own’

These words from Epicurus are the stimulus for Unfinished Business’ Only Wolves and Lions, a participatory performance in which the audience share a meal, a conversation, a provocation. Joining others in a shared event, individual natural rhythms were consolidated as tensions inherent in the late capitalist Western world were explored.

Since its commodification, time has become an increasingly scarce resource for most people, as a pertinacious expectation of productivity in both work and leisure activities grows exponentially. Investing time in the shared activities of preparing and eating a meal in Only Wolves and Lions, a sense of solidarity was developed as participants addressed the crisis of a lost sense of community.

This article explores ways in which individual rhythms gradually became a collective, shared rhythm, and forged a unity of experience through participation. Writing from an autoethnographic perspective, I draw on Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis and Bergson’s notion of pure duration to assert that participation in Only Wolves and Lions resulted in a sense of duration distinct from the homogenous, clock-measured time that regulates economic production as an authoritarian force in late capitalist society.