“You’ll tell them the next thing will be better because it always is.” — Don Draper
”I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment of truth.” — Lady Gaga
One year ago, UVic President Jamie Cassels unveiled the UVic Edge: a thesis statement for the university to parade around campus letting prospective students (and prospective investors) know that everything’s fine, everything’s great, and don’t worry ‘bout a thing.
“Dynamic learning and vital impact in Canada’s most extraordinary environment for discovery and innovation.” That’s what it says when you visit UVic’s website breaking down their new mission statement. But what does it mean?
Does the UVic Edge even exist? Can I find it? These questions and more were on my mind when I set out with my battle-weary camera on a jaunt through campus in search of the edge, wherever it may be. The last few weeks have been marked by the cries of those who’ve fallen off; I owed it to them to try and capture what left them clinging to the precipice. If I could document the intangible, I could make it real. Then, perhaps I could make sense of it.
In typical West Coast fashion, the afternoon sky was marred by clouds, grey light streaming, dulling the senses as I trekked through the quad. My eyes flitted about, looking for anything that looked dynamic, vital, and extraordinary.
Benches. Bike racks. Window sills. Here were UVic’s edges, slicing between myself and all that surrounded me. Here were the edges of the establishment, imprisoning the thoughts and possibilities of so many inquisitive young minds. Rather than the cutting edge of innovation, the only discoveries I made were dull, mundane, and ultimately meaningless.
I turned back to return to my office. But before I got very far, I chanced upon a printed photo, haphazardly taped onto the University Centre directory. It was a picture of U2’s The Edge. I couldn’t help but laugh, and looked around for the culprit. Was it a joke? An artist’s statement? Hard to say. The mystery didn’t want to be solved. This is the UVic Edge: no grand sweeping precipice, no thin blade to dance with death upon, but a pathetic, decrepit leviathan, trapped in a monotonous existence.
How much edgier can you get?