Pubs Shut Till XmasDuring the lockdown - in which I have spent almost the entirety alone at home in London, I have found myself very moved and at times frightened at how fragile everything suddenly seemed to me. Not only the fragility of society itself, but the fragility physically, literally, of all of us as individuals and as animals, as well as the fragility of the “security” that we build around ourselves and the things that we hold closest to us. I have also found myself wondering what it is that prevents us as a society, as a species, from acting - even in the face of great risk, even in the knowledge that pandemics are inevitable or even imminent, or that the earth is warming and the weather becoming more and more extreme.
Not able to leave the flat I have been unable to explore these thoughts as I usually instinctively would - with a camera. I have found myself recounting a journey I took in 2016, to the archaeological sites in Britain where evidence of the very first human species had been found - species that have since become extinct. I photographed these sites but I also recorded the sound of each site and my journey generally- something that at the time seemed far too left-field and abstract to give second thought to! But in the context of an international pandemic these recordings seem to take on a new significance. For some reason I have found myself spending many days listening to them, merging them with sounds from my quarantine and very strange abstract compositions on a small synthesiser and a piano. I guess as a meditation on the past, present and the future, but also to somehow explore my own emotional processing of the moment in which we find ourselves. I simply hope that by sharing this very personal experience it may encourage others (who are fortunate enough to be afforded the time and mental and physical space to do so) to reflect on and process their own emotional experience of the situation.
The sound is accompanied by photographs of the sites themselves, paired with quotes from various world leaders since the outbreak of the virus. I've called it Pubs Shut Till Xmas: taken from The Sun newspaper’s strange front page story on April 20th - that for me, seems to somehow capture the complete surreality of the situation in which we find ourselves.
May 18th, 2020.