journey into lockdown, back to blogging, #aprillove2020, a selfquarantine exhibition + art is where what we survive survives


April 12th, 2020 – 

It feels like writing from another time and reality: out of a world that has changed, that is struggling with a virus, without the fitting medicine yet. The scenario that has been explored in so many scifi films – we all have seen it on screens. Scientists kept pointing out the question wasn’t if it would happen, but when.

Now it did, and it still is hard to believe.

For me, it’s week 4 of lockdown. In a weird twist, it also is: week 3 after island time.

Things were still somehow normal when we left. We went to the Canary Islands, Lanzarote. Had a really nice week in the first week. And then came the lockdown in Spain, and more and more troubling news, from everywhere.

If someone had told me that things would turn drastic so quickly, that Spain would go into lockdown at some point, then I most probably would have cancelled the trip. Just looking at the photo seems surreal.

The Canaries themselves were not a risk area, but the Spain mainland. We could fly home with our normal plane, and didn’t get stranded. And arrived in a Germany that just had turned to lockdown, too, with many restrictions. It is still allowed to go for walks, to do individual sport, and to drive to the supermarket, and to work.

For me, I am working from home anyway, and with the online projects I am part of, work is still going on. I am grateful for that. We are doing a daily team call now, with almost all of us in home office. Again, it feels surreal how quickly our work environment changed, especially for the others.

And so this is April – on Instagram, they started the daily photo challenge “Aprilove2020” early, with uplifting themes. I joined, and it helps to keep grounded, to look for and appreciate details and memories, to share and connect.

And the photography online magazine „Lenscratch“ put an issue together: Lenscratch – the selfquarantining exhibition. It is touching, to see so many entries, the emotions that are sparked, the takes on it – our human condition in this pandemic time.

I am part of it, too, on page 4, in the middle. The photo is titled: „selfquarantineshadowselfie“, it is triggered by the impulse to look at this difficult situation from another, creative angle, and find light and shadow surprises in my own 4 walls.

About reading: I came across a good read this week through Longreads: the New York Review of Books is running a Pandemic Journal with writers: „This running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers will document the coronavirus outbreak with regular updates from around the world.“

It’s multi-faceted and holds insights and reflections far beyond the news and number updates.

Here’s the link to the current set: Pandemic Journal March 23-30

I am touched by the read. There was a passage yesterday with a quote about art, from Akbar’s long poem (The Palace):

„Art is where what we survive survives – Kaveh Akbar“

Unexpected theme of this pandemic: toilet paper, and its scarcity. In the supermarket, I walked past the usually empty spot with the toilet paper.. to see: they had it in store! and you could take 2 packs each. In a happy reflex, I picked two. And then while walking on, I thought:  I don’t actually need two. But then a friend had gone looking and couldn’t find any… and who knows when there will be storage again.

But at the same time, I knew that it also is this thought that leads to shortage. And later, on the terrace, with a cup of tea and the journals, I came across a possible answer:

“People were buying everything they didn’t need, because you could do nothing against a virus but you could buy something and feel a fleeting sense of control and security.” – Nilanjana Roy

More, soon. It’s been ages since I blogged, I still am not sure why it stopped. It’s good to be back. At least apparently the lockdown has those kind of effects, too.