Grocery Runway: experience the supermarket in COVID times

5' to read

Supermarkets have become a symbol of this lockdown since people are using them to escape the claustrophobic environment of their houses. Grocery shopping is our yard time, our brief contact with society. Going to the supermarket it’s not about necessities, it’s about self-care.

C41 has always been deeply interested in the contemporary social issues, both at a local and international level and we believe that only real people can express the most authentic point of view over the time we live in. Our aim is — and we’ll always be — to find extraordinary stories in ordinary contexts. We are approaching this sensitive and tough time the only way we know: challenging ourselves to create beauty.

Supermarkets have become a symbol of this lockdown since people are using them to escape the claustrophobic environment of their houses. Grocery shopping is our yard time, our brief contact with society. Going to the supermarket it’s not about necessities, it’s about self-care.

We felt confident to start an open call for this project through our social media, given that our community is full of incredible creative artists.

The supermarket can be considered a fascinating place full of shelves and products. Each product has a different color, a different font that encourages the buyer to put it in the shopping cart. Loudspeakers who call people, noises of money, and fingers tapping the keys. A surreal place that everyone needs and everyone has access to but nobody wants to go. After work, tired from a long day, the idea of having to enter a supermarket full of people and having to choose from a myriad of products thinking about what you will eat during the week was unnerving. It was certainly more convenient to order a pizza at home to eat on the sofa so you don’t even have to wash the dishes. We are lazy but our Italian soul, passionate and lover of good things in times of difficulty has undoubtedly come out. We were catapulted from one day to the next in an “other” dimension that did not belong to us. Flooded with catastrophic news, like in old war movies where the whole family gathered in front of a small TV to hear the news, always hoping for something positive. We have been like this. Alone, with the whole the family, whit friends, we were those in front of the television intent on understanding what was going on in the world.

After the first days of panic and madness, the Italian soul came out in all its forms. Songs from the window sounded impetuously at certain times of the day, the smell of homemade pizza and pasta spread through the streets. Old ladies talked from one balcony to another and the neighborhood, never considered before, became the new family. And it is at this moment that the act of going shopping has changed its face. It was no longer an obligation, but a way to get some fresh air, hoping maybe to meet someone in the queue and have a chat.

You wake up in the morning, every day is the same, you try to do different activities but the four walls of the house are lacking in stimuli. It is three in the afternoon and you probably have not yet taken off your pajamas, you say to yourself “no one has to see me anyway”. Go to the kitchen, open the refrigerator and you realize that there are not the usual 740 different things to cook pasta, gnocchi, pizza, meat, fish, peppers, or anything that can take as long as possible. Then it’s time, you take off your comfortable and silky pajamas, you put on a little make-up (even if the mask luckily covers everything), you put on both clothes and gloves and a mask and go out. The city is empty, the air is strangely clean and fresh, you look around as if it were the first time you can see the city. After endless queues, most of the time in the sun, obviously keeping the safety distances, you are inside.

You are finally inside the only place that welcomes us in this difficult moment.

The shelves are not as lush as we remembered but it is not important, you walk slowly, you look around, people are unrecognizable but in any case when you meet a glance a hidden but understandable smile always starts. Buy everything, plants, food, yeast for pizza (always out of stock), and think of all those impossible recipes you want to make. By now you feel at home when you walk through those sliding doors.

You make yourself beautiful for that place and you can’t wait to see it again.

Credits:
@giorgia.ditria@giacomoalberico
@teofiorenti, @lubarrott
@mc2.8, @therainbow_is_underestimated
@baiardiny, @sergio_camplone

Kiss me is a video made by Giada Bossi written with Slemnils and realized with Francesca Pavoni. This video responded to the C41 open call and perfectly describes the world we lived in, the way we lived it through technology, and the little things of everyday life.

“It is my way to convey grocery stores as social gatherings today. It can seem like a joke (and it could be) but in the end, it is also a documentation of my generation and a reflection on how empathy with people (and so with the characters of the film) is nowadays filtered and shifted by technology, as we started reading intentions emotions and thought behind chat typing. In particular during days like these of lockdown in which chatting and socials have become our main way to communicate and socialize.

It’s a sad reality but it is true, and I recognize it as also my reality.

I tested the video on several people. Can be considered as a social experiment I guess. Most of the people liked and got to the end, being sorry for the characters in the end. Few people didn’t like it at all. Some of them changed my opinion when I told them that was my real story. They were suddenly more interested. That fact can be true or false but is a further reflection of our voyeuristic interest in other people’s private life.

If you get to the end, you are a sad person, just right like me. If you don’t like it you might consider yourself lucky I guess.

We have produced, in collaboration with Giada Bossi and Matteo Fiorentino, limited edition t-shirts of only 35 pieces that can be found in our online shop.