Water, Earth + Us in the Lockdown

This is a video I made for World Water Day on the 22nd March, at the beginning of our long lockdown. One month after, on the 22nd April, is World Earth Day. So there’s a stretch of a month between these two elements, and this year that stretch falls into a unique period, where we are in the virus-induced lockdown, but where our natural environment has a unique opportunity to get better! This fact of us suffering versus nature healing, that’s not an awkward association but one with a message: we have to stop damaging the environment in order to prevent another crisis, another virus. Now we find out that the farming of animals for human consumption is unhealthy, deforestation can lead to viral infection, and so on. Scientists think there will be more crises to come if we don’t change our ways. So here is is, in other words: capitalism kills.  So we have to take World Water Day, World Earth Day, and all these initiatives to protect

our environment more seriously, Disrespect can be deadly, of people and of place, inequality and robbery of raw materials, consumerism: these have to stop. Some of us have said that decades ago but now we have reached a new level of emergency. It’s a climate emergency, and an inequality emergency now. The rat race that capitalism has produced, and still reproduces, over and over again, is biased towards a small global minority who, despite being cogs in the machine, are ‘privileged’ – for being largely oblivious to the damage they are doing. This ‘not-being-aware’ that we are too often exposed to in the West, is clearly dangerous, a colonial mentality that does not consider others – or even ourselves. (if we knew who we are!)

This lockdown is like a legitimation crisis for capitalism, and our version of modernity. The virus is a dictator: it’s not democratic, it’s seeking revenge. But maybe now, after extensive damage to the earth and our global brotherhood and sisterhood has been done, with divisions implemented like prison-sentences, we deserve nothing else but being forced to change. It’s bad enough that we are once again unequal in our suffering, and the privileged among us get off relatively lightly. But nevertheless, with the virus and the lockdown we have reached a level of alarm we haven’t had before. Now that all of us are more of The Wretched of the Earth (see Fanon) in one way or another.

At ArtCouple, we have put up our Out-O-Space Gallery: artcouple.co.uk/?p=224, and above is some more art I made, in my ‘art at home’ series, which started with my ‘shells in bed’ series, of which one, Outside In/ner Circle, was published in Gaada’s (gaada.org) and another, an “Olympic Assemblage” in ‘Art in the Time of Virus: Isolation’ ( www.facebook.com/indoorsmainly/)  excellent Quarantzine (see also last post, and more on Instagram) – and which is now branches out into placing shells and pebbles on old exercise books from school, like this one, or other things from the past, my childhood, the pesticides and the good times, of which only the ethical ones count. The exercise book – let’s do our homework!

And then there’s the (bar) code-breaker (see also on my Instagram, link on Gallery page): 20200415_144901

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