This article drives inspiration from what has been published on Instagram and other websites during the past few weeks. Images are used for research only, without any commercial purpose. Credits are mentioned. For any inquiries please contact us.
Actual state of mind
The body meets spatial confines but no physical restraints. The margins are traced on the outside with no internal boundaries. Time for loosening up, will to absorb. Not protection but perdition. Like a puzzle without the reference. Rules reversal, the unsaid surfaces. Piles of sorrows can’t be blown out. We’re well placed but yet lost.
Forced quietness becomes agony.
Microscopic stares, macroscopic inspections. Kaleidoscopic self, simple patterns become labyrinths. Intentions get liquid, instincts dry out. Risks sprinkle low in thrills. So clean to avoid, so sterile to freeze. Voids striving for refills. Digesting deceleration, the irony is not funny anymore. Soft covers embrace you but lead you to nightmares. The skin stretches for miles, but it doesn’t meet any.
Absence of demand, inability to stimulate.
Mixed feelings try to adhere. Silence feels noisy. The cheeks crinkle, stretch again; they moisten soon after. It’s a loop. Willingness to climb onto something, nothing but mirrors. Tired glance wanders around falling into the corners. Biting an orange like an apple, peeling mandarins with seeds. The old intention to long for emotional bumps becomes a new one, craving for traces.
Long but slippery days.
If we are lucky enough, we are finding ourselves isolated and sealed in between our houses’ walls. Us and our burden of battling feelings which twist and overflow. But how are we managing them?
Dealing with photography means first of all working on one’s own vision of the world. Photography shapes a way to interpret and structure reality. These days, photographers find themselves disconnected from the usual ambitious flow. Not being impacted by the range of consumerist commitments, many seems to be objecting step by step what is worth looking at and how to visualize it: a big challenge in which educating ourselves become essential. Time is on our side; the glance spins towards new directions, listening to voices of diverse nature. In the meanwhile, as Dorothea Lange would say, the camera is becoming the extension of the photographer, turned back into a tool that allows to be tourists in its own existence. Perhaps (and finally) photography seems to be employed to amplify the attention to the ‘sensoriality’ of the experience. Engaging the senses and perceptions, the intuitions develop during very introspective experiences. Moreover, if photographs are the product of a series of behavioral attitudes, it’s also by photographing that behavioral attitude may shape, helping us dealing with the present in a new way.
The following analysis, conducted in a very spontaneous (and perhaps even superficial) manner, contains a series of observations based on what has been published via instagram and other social networks during the last period of self-isolation. Thinking about them (sometimes maybe naively) as tools capable to provide a rather intimate perspective on what’s inside-out, it is possible to (very approximately) perceive some unconscious shift of messages applied to the previous will to narrate. Looking for patterns and analogies, some urgencies and consequently following proactive approaches have been pulled out.
Raising from the willingness to metabolize the general situation, without the need, for a frame of time to be productive, some visual notes and hypothetical meaning are stitched together in chronological steps.
1. ASSUMING THE ISSUE
Realizing the impact through a natural symbolism
Even if everybody was aware of the quick spread of virus Covid-19 around the globe, the most only understood and took it seriously when the distance of the danger is minimized. The direct impact on personal restrictions has surely been one of the main factors that enabled him to decode of the danger. This is associated by Kent Andreasen to a visual and palpable feedback of a known natural place burning in front of his own eyes. A discernible comparison, that reminds us how acceptance work through experience, and that facts are way more incisive than deaf words.
2. SUPPORTING GOOD PRACTISES
Encouraging to pay care.
Photographies becomes an informative vehicle supporting the implementation of the good practises. Being visual translations and codification of the new norms, they invite through a light, explicative and aesthetical potential.
3. PROVING THE FEELINGS
Analyzing the outside looking for tensed visual feedbacks
To the quarantine restrictions, the new bans and the threatening issue, three have been the physiological main responses: fight, fly or freeze; raising by the discomfort, agitation and a weird sort of enthusiasm for something unknown. The willingness to visually match some background feelings is met through picturing the desolated inhabited social places. The virus is invisible to the eyes, the consequence is not, but it’s frightening silent. These are the first strong signs of some dramatic change on which the interiority starts to be whisked. While the architecture, standing nude, assumes metaphysical notes, the emptiness of the streets evokes tension.
4. ASSUMING THE FEELINGS
Looking inside creating painful visual feedbacks, inside-out willing to bridge limits
These assumptions are directly projected inside searching and drilling voids that suck in our reactions. Into our mind, degrees of complexity similar to those found in Escher’s paintings. Solitude soon addresses the need of recording the conscious alienation, assuming visibly Hopper’s view of loneliness. People are showing themselves as static, waiting for something not under their domain. Stretching symptoms, accommodating them while not really resting. Keeping on wandering and speculating the very personal and still superficial layer of something similar to very egoistic dissatisfaction. With the willingness to escape that champs at the bit, our eyes and lenses are trying to bridge the physical limits. The cameras point and focus outside, overcoming glasses, doors, almost as if this could partially serve to reconnect or eventually, to rest, included.
5. CONNECTING MEMORIES
Looking back in the archives, building up, highlighting needs, raising melancholy
Partly lost between the surrealism of the present and the ambiguity of the future, looking back into who we have been or what we have done happens naturally. This is partly done in order to grasp and hold on to some positive feelings that can calm us down, making us feel alive. The outcomes are various, sometimes nostalgia arises, other recall quietness, whereas, sometimes, images are just used to work on very personal hierarchies, creating analogies and setting orders.
6. BYPASSING THE LIMITATIONS
Looking for different ways of working, adapting and extending media
Somebody explored how to use common media differently, changing only the method through which pursuing their usual performances. Whether extending their possibilities or changing the paradigms, the demonstration has been the formulation, once again, of strategies that can overcome physical limitations.
7. UNLOADING THE FEELING
Challenging fear by getting light and active with irony
The human was caught unprepared. Irony became the tool used to face fear; a response to the lack of precautions needed to face the issue. Not being literal served to unburden the moods. When anxiety could easily take over, joking on hypothetical and foolish alternative answers helped to underline the urgency of the matter without raising the panic.
8. OBSERVING THE ROUTINE
Analyzing the habits and the connected tools
By digesting impositions, but going on with a very basic version of life, all those patterns of actions given for granted set under the spotlight. They pop out as needs to be confirmed. While trying to silence this constant slow-rush, daily human practices and their sticking nature that bonds our days together, are finally assumed as necessary rhythms. Diverse reactions to the absence of schedules hide different personalities: Some overlap and let activities and priorities clash between each other, others seems not to know anything about them, others set aside observing and rusting, some start to intensify those beneficial.
No body delimitation either, no instructions, no will helps you to move your discarded body. Concentrations springs around towards what’s less due and more tempting. Not looking for confirmations.
The connection between routine, and the space sees tools, objects and traces as natural influence of how the passing of time get structured. Observations and comparisons are recorded. Vices lose their potential, demonstrating to be boring in their low profile. No ways to play hide and seek because any unknown angle is started to be noticed. Time for soft tests and evaluations, to even start considering all those physical and mental efforts know by heart, which outcome has never really been proven. Time for trying to change the way we do things. Unlocking the shades of pleasure, recalling what made them such powerful, recording the theater of their evolution. Space for diverse degrees of pleasurable, new structures, framings and new discoveries.
9. MODIFYING THE SPACE
Perceiving the relation with the space, playing with it and the altered needs
Having focused the relationship between actions, and their physical and emotional outcome, the exercise extends into the intervention in the structure of the space itself. Some images are just used as references, because shot in the past. Giving voice to the body, that connects together with the contemplation of the objects, it’s possible to analyze the own inscribed actions that can be challenged towards rather personal inclinations.
While the present starts to feel as far and difficult to grasp, the connection with the own intimacy gets urgent, speculating on how to shape everything on the own size, rather than modifying the own person towards what’s outside. That reminds of the concept enhanced by Bruno Munari and the relation with an armchair, in which comfort is a concept to be met through a mutual complicity. Naturally, we find ourselves as performers of new roles, implementing or redirecting softly our actions in sequence.
10. CHALLENGING BOREDOM
Fostering the imagination and the foolishness collecting in common archives
Getting active serves as a way to keep a concrete connection with reality, detaching from the limiting affective fear. Getting back to an earthly dimension using photography as a media through different kind of levels, is useful to let all the emotional shades settle. Diverse can be the explorative paths, diverse the ranges of emotive content implemented, diverse the range of time, diverse degrees of speculation.
While the lack of work deprives of inputs, we tampon that old pressure welcoming very personal requests, revealing that most of the time we are the worse client to satisfy. Starting new kinds of consumptions and creations by moving expectations apart, we settle ourselves as the availability to play the new game. That’s here where a satiric platform from Max Siedentopf acts by calling for assignments whose focus it to lighten the load allowing creativity to be still simulated. Practicing the foolish, not only is useful to widen the imagination being impulsive, but also reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.
Material intuitive games, can be followed by wide reflections that resonate instinctive answers, choices and tendencies that resemble ourselves with our paralyzed and senseless sphere.
11. PLAYING WITH ALTERNATIVES
Customizing current possibilities creating accessible common archives
When satire doesn’t satisfy anymore, when our answers look for solidity and quietness burns, we look for quality. The ones striving for feedbacks start to find substitutes between what we already own tinged with some imagination, and, again, capability to examine. By re-evaluating and looking for new approaches, and thanks to the ability to open our minds, low key objects and processes fed by intuitions raise the quality of the results. Nicolas Polli, started collecting those attempts, creating an archive where not only results are important, but also the process to get there. This works, happens to be a kind of open-source, an archive that stimulates our resilience providing stimuli. At the basis, a very strong network, willing to create a common domain. Living through isolation, but hyperconnection, feeling part of a whole, having the possibility to participate, keeps exited.
12. RECORDING VISUALLY
Observing an objective rhythm
Pontormo, a mannerist painter, during the last two years of life wrote a personal minimal diary in which he systematically noted down his own habits, including those food-related, healthy issues and meteorological situation, the encounters he was making and, moreover, the evolution of his own work. This perseverance and almost zen approach, was probably useful for him to feel in contact with the reality, monitoring the relation and thus the influences between himself and what surrounded him. Similarly, Claudia Zalla, as well as seen through other Instagram pages, started an analytical visual diary recording a set of three actions a day through the use of symbolic objects. Objects, which bound us tight to reality, stand for a daily recap, so an overview which helps staying on a pragmatic track.
13. EXPLORING THE SELF
Working on self-perception and intimacy
A great lecture can be pulled out from “Viaggio intorno alla mia camera”, the monologue written in 1790 by Xavier de Maistre, a military writer that was imprisoned in his room for 42 days. Going across very explorative and analytic routes, Xavier, when finally free, felt a tremendous amount of sadness, having to leave his own bigger reign of fantasy perceived as way more profound as the what’s encountered in the reality of life.
While the deprivation of being impacted to what’s outside can foster freedom to the ability to reach what’s inside, some elasticity exercises, stretching until the core of tensions could be useful. The concentration should be kept right where the muscles do activate to practise correctly, not running after anybody else. While the attention moved back to the gestures that evolve from customized balancing rhythms, we spontaneously decide what became the main course and what the side kind of dish. That’s exactly how, dealing with the right amount of challenge and implementing the right amount of skills, we are able to feel the flux being embraced into the optimal experience, getting a high level of gratification, as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi well theorised.
Perhaps it’s the time to undress any kind of mask, working on our strengths rather than starring the lacks, meeting beauty, feeling its fragility. The body takes a central role, becomes the actor of an experiential plot together with the discovery of the all palette of shapes and its related perceptions. And all of those should be observed, nourished and stimulated, similarly to the way Isabel Allende suggests to do with spices on baked vegetables in “Afrodita”. Education goes through deeper gradients, progressively.
14. BUILDING VISUALLY
Making visual conversation, replacing words with others senses
When the designer Marcel Wanders mentioned that being so rational, we have created a very simple version of ourselves, he was probably right. Messages, these days, are only conveyed through the lack of potential of words while other meanings hide trapped into voice vibrations, moves, tones and inclinations that can’t reach. As Roland Barthes would say, this seems a sensorial apnea. Giving back a role to our senses, can prevent them to crush, like it happened in the movie Perfect Sense, leaving people rabid, powerless. Stay At Home Photography is a platform for non-linear but emotional conversation in support of the latter issue, exploring until which extents images and imagination can intertwine and stimulate.
15. PERCEIVING TIME
Appreciating the changes of light and the different emotional sparks
Not only the structure of our nest has been explored connected to the way it is inhabited by ourselves as human presence. Slowly, the attention turns from the pragmatic side to one which seems rather intellectual, or perhaps simply perceptive. The influence of the light, surely a power that is way bigger than all what is of our direct domain. Something unrelated from our control, something that happens of which we can simply be amused of, when able to notice it. That’s how the observation moves from the elements to the energy that make them embracing. Recoding means waiting for the few intense minutes of pure pleasure or going by the pulse of the days.
16. ENHANCING NATURAL BEAUTY
Feeling the lack of natural contact, extending our glances
Trapped inside, any breath of fresh air gets precious, as rationally expected as it could ever seem. Shy and a little scared, we recognize that any single step on any irregular floor makes us richer, and seeing no boundaries is useful to unload any burden. So banal, but yet, still so unknown. We are directing lenses to nature with a frequency which is unprecedented, striving for a connection, to minimize a distance, to show it under different lights, to explore the quietness, until making its composition and attributes the focal point
17. FANTASIZING ESCAPES
Leaving the imagination flow looking for other ways of reaching out
To underline the previous need, there is who records, at least momentarily, its surrogates; looking for the creation of a visual language which structure itself on the opposite limits of the melancholic and futuristic notes.
18. SPECULATING ROOTS
Looking for the causes to imagine the extension
For some, images are notes, translations and the raw material for speculations. Pawns for potential liminal messages that don’t have real shapes, or clear manifestations to offer. Inspired by some texts of HP Lovecraft, the direct version of the message could be assumed as negative, being idyllic when carefully analyzed. The axis of comprehension shifts from the sensation of being chocked survivors of a lost battle to refreshed pioneers of a greater change. thoughts dissolved and untangled, to recompose on a transcendent level. Reflecting on our anthropocentric vision of the world, concentration should rather focus on the evolution and the capability to adapt. Evolving towards something that we can’t expect to understand fully, make us keeping wandering, researching and codifying unprecedented signals.
As a circle looping, what was the spark that set the start of the analysis, nature, it’s also its turning point. Willing to invite to keep opening up towards new degrees of sensibility, and to prevent the only rational interpretation, the wish is to be able to scale back our own measure, getting in touch to some less pragmatic but rather nourishing forces.
While the only and essential rule is working on accepting the loose configurations developing the issue, the is no need to mention that, this common domain of practices underlines our own similarity. And this proved by the few easy principles that can similarly keep us stable, bringing us back to balance. In a scenario in which practicing replaced producing, research went over finalization, the act of absorbing substituted the one of dissipation: self- knowledge seems to be turned into a new predisposition toward what’s outside. For those who have been able to essentially react to fear in such a limited but protected context turning their own paths from shattering to fruitful; sensibility surely flourished. May we implement this unprecedented occasion to observe stuff from a completely new perspective, getting used to spend a little of our days, feeling possible futures that fit us best. May be avoid being touched when we don’t want to, nourishing with the new universes evolved during these nights. May we transform these idyllic perceptions into enabling power. May the replacement of the old rotten values raise from a sense of deep presence and contact rather than slim compassion, wishing to never ever have to wake up in the old sweaty bed tired and alone, but rather bright from a very lucid dream.