November 2020 Project Statement
I can only offer some preliminary thoughts on this project, as we are all still in the uncertain middle of the pandemic and I don’t know when or how this project will end.
When the pandemic became a reality in the US in March with the move to online learning and stay at home orders, I began to collect news stories and log the daily reported cases and deaths.
I was teaching in the spring, and I encouraged students to document and navigate this moment in time in their assignments—the challenges but also the surprises they encountered, honing their observation skills and finding emotions in the mundane. I gave myself the assignment too; to see the disruption, life suspended, as an opportunity to pay attention to the details, as well as the larger patterns and connections. To be a concerned citizen chronicling alarming current events, and an individual marking a relationship to a place called “home.”
There were two daily records- the images and the text. Together they became a way to navigate the new reality; the data and news headlines, and my physical solitude at the beginning (my spouse was away on deployment first six months of pandemic, nine months total). I saw the records as representations of different senses of time and ways of being present, simultaneously intimate and global; a way of holding contradictory information and feelings with one another by sandwiching the daily record of data and headlines between the weekly record of intimate images from home. Record the daily news, record the daily suffering and loss, record the fleeting daily moments, record the stillness.
I recognize that my documentation of the pandemic may not seem as significant as the records to be collected from those out on the front lines—hospital workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers; or the documentation from the protests and unrest starting in late May; but it is one of the stories from this time. It is important to record and acknowledge the billions of people throughout the world, in all of our differences, negotiating our multifarious routines and places within a connecting pandemic. Some of the stories are quieter: stories of adventures in going nowhere, stories of dissecting the daily routine, stories of reckoning with solitude.
It’s been quite a week with the election, but right there in the headlines is the surging cases and deaths in the US and across the globe, and so the recording continues. As of this writing, 31 weeks are documented and I will continue to update until the numbers go down, the masks are put away, and I can sit in a restaurant without a hint of anxiety.
[Technical note: exploring new website formats and layouts for better legibility]
Digital collage, dimensions variable (series in progress)