Between Seeing and Being
April 8, Sydney: We watch the world suffer as we wait for local suffering to unfold. Waiting is a void approached with fear and residual gratitude for the living. As we reduce our worlds to domestic and familial, the forced stillness of waiting feels unbearable. My art practice seeks to communicate the liminal space between ‘seeing’ and ‘being.’ I record in layers of marks the fleeting glimpses of the expansive, brutal, exquisitely beautiful Australian landscape and my sensory responses. Now, the marks also record a visceral sense of waiting for devastation. The repetition of mark-making forces order, slowness, calm.
— Kristy Gordon (Sydney, Australia)
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Sofa, family room, home. Closest spot to the windows. Wifi works best. Legs on the footrest, I crawl into a soft blanket. Morning light pours gently onto the marble floor.
WeChat… family texting about how it’s still not safe to go out. Exit. Weibo… scrolling down real-time trending keywords: “Beijing will be in epidemic control for a longer time.” What does “epidemic control” even mean?
Soon, the thought that I have done absolutely nothing startles me. The sunlight shifts closer, and in my long contemplation of the nothingness, I fall into a daydream.
— Sunny Sun (Dalian, China)
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Behind Closed Doors
Oftentimes, clinical laboratory technologists are out of sight and, as a result, out of mind in the public realm, even though we are just as impacted by this pandemic as our other colleagues in healthcare. The paradox of being a technologist is that our patients are physically present, but not entirely, and they are psychologically present, but not entirely. Despite this ambiguity, when dealing with hundreds of samples per day and viewing the results before everyone else, we feel the brewing storm looming over the horizon just the same.
— Ansel Oommen, MLS (ASCP) (New York, New York)
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Borders snap shut ahead of me in Greenland and behind me in Svalbard. I find myself marooned midway, on a tiny island in the North Sea. Kindly locals let me stay in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and ask me to self-isolate. I’m guessing the light’s former custodians would laugh at the imposition. Through the (now-automated) lantern’s fresnel lens the world is turned upside down. But there’s no sense of anything amiss, other than a sky curiously free of the usual trans-Atlantic contrails. I redraft my neglected PhD. Maybe Slow Travel is just what the doctor ordered?
— Adam Sébire (Utsira Lighthouse, Norway)
This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.