I submitted my Masters Thesis on the history of Aboriginal treaties in Victoria at the beginning of this pandemic. I was deeply disappointed that I couldn’t have lunch with my supervisor, a beer with the office, or even hug other post-grad students, my friends and family. Let alone attend a graduation (I know these are coming, but the anti-climax was depressing). However, I am grateful that I was able to complete my thesis before COVID-19’s social impacts really hit my household.+ + +
I have a new employer every few weeks. When I finish one job, another is ready to begin. When the power goes off, I can do it all with hand tools. It might take a while longer but the result is the same. I must be frugal and motivated, but I can survive adversity. I’m a self-employed artist and furniture maker.+ + +
One can adjust to almost anything. Even to prison. Two years now since I first walked into this precinct, and four more ahead. An eternity. Actions have consequences, they say. Whether it was worth it or not I ask myself every day. I fall asleep pondering it. I know what my family feel.+ + +
My world has been locked down and zoomed out.
I’ve been keen to use Garland magazine during the lockdown to share information and ideas across our network of makers and thinkers in the Indo-Pacific. Ironically, it’s been much easier than normal to contact people because no one is travelling. Internet access also has grown so that video chats are now possible in my network, even Iran.
The arts industry is decimated. When the media talks of the arts it usually refers to the performing arts which receive box office returns. That loss is measurable. Not so much has changed for me personally. As a visual artist I’m used to being on the edge in so many ways, paying to be an artist rather than being valued in monetary terms, despite being valued in cultural and critical terms.+ + +
Immunity – from COVID-19, from a threatening outside world, from the present itself – is the drumbeat of our times. Perhaps nowhere is it sounding more insistently than in the Britain of 2020. The parochial logics of modern sovereignty, until recently on full display in calls to “Take Back Control”, have found new expression in calls for the populace to “Stay Alert” against looming threats to the health of the body politic.+ + +
I’m writing this from my coronavirus bunker. And you are probably reading it from yours. As per medical orders, we are increasingly closed off from the outside world. In a bid to escape the biological threat of the virus, we are translocating our lives in two directions: first into physical enclosures, second into the digital enclosure of ‘the cloud’.+ + +