Tales from the time of the Coronavirus

Re-grounding the epic in the everyday
by @alefilizzola

Beyond the routine and apathy of the everyday, everyone was turned into the protagonist and hero of its own tale during the Coronavirus pandemic. The ordinary is no more. On the one hand there are the ones who belie that this crises is overrated. On the other hand there is the pessimism of those who are waiting for the worse. Although, no matter the scale, there is no scape from being impacted by this world crises. Could anyone not be feeling confused about the present and insecure about the future in a time like this? Nevertheless, we are all trying in our own ways to thrive and overcome the new confined reality. – Maybe wearing colourful clothes or party outfits when staying in the lockdown might help to cheer the mood up, isn’t it?

Throughout these images, different points of view from a subjective perspective were used to set a spot light on a range of perceptions about how the pandemic and the lockdown is effecting and changing the significance of the daily life onto an epic interpretation. From ordinary people carrying on with their life quarantine to the smugly toxic positivity on social media, this visual narrative flow starts focusing on real individuals from different places and their real life portrayed in online snapshots, then, it jumps to a surrealistic mimesis of collective feelings before it changes to look at a particular community.

I would rather not cloistering this photo-essay in chapters. Instead, I like to think of them as intersected realities. However, some motives can be better noted:

1) The everyday portrait through the webcam, which has online snapshots of ordinary peoples in two moments, the first in their insertion in their lockdown places and quarantine habits; and the second with them over a plinth as a visual metaphor of their elevation into the epic realm.

2) The object significance being questioned, which has myself and my housemates in surrealistic situations exploring the possible changes of meaning of the commonplace by the objectification of the body and proposition of the re-significance of things, turning objects into protagonists by relating to them in unusual ways and by consequence taking them into an epic interpretation.

3) The cabin fever madness, which is a visual melodrama with my housemates unveiling contradicted feelings and emotions in opposition to the hyper productive and happy lockdown live flaunted on social media.

4) Photo Collages that I made during my 15 days isolation upon arrival when I had to move back from London to my country, Brazil. During this period I revisited my archives in search to relink with my cultural roots. The digital collages were used to elevate the elders from a community of escaped slave decedents (quilombolas). Traditionally, in the months of May and June, the beginning of the winter time in Brazil, this communities celebrate their religious events in honour of the Saints of this season. This syncretic events are a mix of Catholic and African influences. They are full of symbolisms, drum rhythms, carols, food and drinks. This special one in these collages, from the community of ‘Matição’, still has an epic pinnacle when the remaining ambers from the bonfire are speeded and the believers walk over it on their bare feet as a proof of courage and faith. This event should be happening by the time I arrived in Brazil and was cancelled due to the outbreak. The same elders praised here are the more vulnerable to the virus and are sadly dying because of it. With them, a good deal of their traditions and culture is being lost.

There is no certainty about anything at this pandemic point and I rather not draw any conclusions about it. I expect that each reader will be able to reach their own interpretation and resonate with the images based on their own experience.