ConnectEffect at CLC Compares Real World to the ‘Screen World’
Central Lakes College invited folks in the Brainerd Lakes Area to take part in the innovative and interactive experience ConnectEffect from Jan 23-25. Hosted by two-time Emmy nominated television producer Riaz Patel, ConnectEffect took a unique deep dive into the real world versus the “screen world,” where participants went through exercises, group experiences, and conversations all geared towards bridging generations, cultures, and even beliefs.
ConnectEffect’s message is a simple one: Break down societal barriers by helping people establish a distinction between what’s real and what’s fabricated, especially with what’s seen on phones and other electronic devices.
“I think the screen world, everything is an edit, and I think people forget that, that they look at it because it’s always there and it looks like images of the real world,” said Patel. “They think it’s real, but it’s always an edit, and behind every edit is an intention. And the intention now is … that it’s not to give people the truth. And so everyone’s getting one side of the story.”
Joey Yow, director of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center, said of the experience, “We’re gonna bring in an audience of strangers together. We’re going to look at the disconnect there is when we spend so much of our life on screens, so much of our life getting information from our devices, and less time actually conversing with each other and trying to understand one another.
At a time when people feel discouraged to voice their authentic opinions, Patel believes all they need are the ideal conditions in which to do so.
“I think it is incredibly hard for people to lower their guard. And whenever we do this, we ask people, ‘Are you afraid to tell people what you think and feel?’ And almost always, it is ‘yes,’ because again, the screen is training us that everything I see is good, bad, angry, we’re judging everything that comes at us,” explained Patel. “What we try to do is bring the commonality that everyone feels that way. And so if we all feel that way, it’s really, that’s a point of connection, that if we’re all feeling like we’re afraid of being judged, then we can connect on that and then let that go and be able to sort of be vulnerable and honest with each other.”
ConnectEffect’s all about providing participants with an experience centered around discussing global issues in today’s day and age, such as loneliness, social isolation, and how to best attack them. And for Patel, giving people a comfortable space to have the discussion is the first step towards improving one’s mental health.
“I think to me, connection is the most important thing in the world,” Patel added. “And then when you have the right connection, it leads to incredible open conversation. And that is the foundation of community, which is what we all want as humans. And so my hope is if we create that connection, it will lead to the conversation and community.”
More information on ConnectEffect can be found on their website.