Isolation

17 May 2020

The coronavirus lockdown has forced many of us to reflect deeply on how we respond to solitude, although today, with constant access to telephone, television, radio and Internet we’re never fully cut off from the rest of the world. Silence has become such a scarce commodity that many people become uneasy without an undercurrent of noise.

John McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald, May 2020

 

We've split our week between Perth and Cowaramup over several years.  With Coronavirus and regional border closures in place, we decided to self isolate in Cowaramup.  My partner is able to work remotely, as am I with my casual university and freelance design jobs (albeit with crappy internet access) - but... I did have to forgo my art studio.

Tomorrow the borders officially open and I will go back to Perth.  There has been an emotional shift within me - I feel reluctant to go back.  This landscape and most importantly the silence here is providing me with new artwork ideas that I've been scribbling down and mentally processing over the past 7 weeks.  I've also had time and space to take daily photographs, walk in nature, forage and cook.

Everyone is processing these strange and uncertain times differently - some friends feel anxious and trapped, while others are thankful for this slower pace.  The global economic fall-out is undoubtedly catastrophic with millions now unemployed (in the US we've seen over 10 million people apply for unemployment benefits in March alone). My own casual position within a university system that is struggling with the loss of international students, is also under threat.

It's pretty easy to feel pessimistic right now. My wildly optimistic hope is that this global pandemic creates a more resilient and compassionate society, with a renewed outlook towards the preservation of our natural world.  We must change, or in the words of a wise friend - 'we are completely fucked'.

* news - I will lose my university position June 30th - (casual) Assistant Art Curator, 13 years