I can’t remember when I met Jean-Lorin for the first time after I arrived at Solitude. Lots of good, ongoing, and deep friendship, and we still don’t remember when it started. With Jean- Lorin, Was it at one of the night summer parties by the temple in the backyard? Or during one of the dinner parties? Or maybe when I started joining »coffee on the stairs,« Jean-Lorin’s initiative of drinking coffee once a week, during the morning, on the right stairs of the castle, and reading »our future« in the coffee grounds. In the end, the beginning doesn’t matter, as what comes from it matters more.
Two days before he left Solitude, we met near the temple; he was so busy with packing and finishing stuff, we had ten minutes of calmness and a quick flashback on his life in Solitude for three months.
Jean-Lorin Sterian (Constanta/Romania) is a researcher, writer, artist and performer currently based in Bucharest/Romania. He completed his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Spiru Haret University in Bucharest in 1998. He has a master in anthropology from the SNSPA (2009) and a master in »Society, Multimedia, Spectacle« (Center Of Excellence In Image Study, University of Bucharest, 2015).
Rasha: Why do you think this place is special? Or full of magic, if I may call it like that…
Jean- Lorin: »I’ve been in some residences, some of them were really nice, but I feel I will never find a place like this. First, because that residency is more than one month, usually the residencies are for one month or maybe less or a bit more, and here you have enough time to meet people and to get along with them in a deep way. I think the quality of the people is amazing, at least that happened in my generation of fellows. Most of the fellows were kind, and I bonded a lot with people more that I usually do in my life. I totally forgot about my idea of Solitude that I’d established in my mind before I arrived here. I had so many great moments and I spent time with people where I really fell in love, and »fell in love« is not an expression that I use frequently. I felt so grateful. I was so happy to be in that moment here.«
Rasha: You had the »coffee on the stairs« initiative, how did this idea come about? People are passing by in places and put their stamp on the place, and coffee on the stairs will always be your stamp on Solitude.
Jean- Lorin: »Yes, maybe. It started as breakfast, and it was proposed by Leon and Florian and then I heard about it, and after the second meeting we turned it into more coffee thing, and somehow I took the responsibility to be the manager of this little event. And I found it very nice to start the day with people I like — it started as really small group but it spread out. Now I think everyone is welcome to join. I have many projects, coffee and some of them happened here. I realized that for me it’s important to give back something, and there are few people that have these skills and the ability to make things happen here and I think it was one of the ingredients when there were more people with different initiatives and that mingled together and somehow from their initiatives the whole »after hours« programs were shaped from these events that came from the people.«
Rasha: Is there a story that touched you? Or some event that was moving to you?
Jean- Lorin: »Somehow everyday here is so intense, and the encounters and events are so intense but sometimes at the end of the day I don’t remember what happened in that day or two days ago, and I still have two days here and it’s really hard to me, it’s like a chunk of something. It’s quite hard for me to cut out a piece. There were so many events: my first party here at Li’s place, the first football game in my second day, going to the fire place. Well, and the parties when I had the chance to know the people better in a different way.«
Rasha: What you will take from here back home?
Jean- Lorin: »Well, I think I will cry for two days. I will really call this summer, my summer of love.«