THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIRD AND A PLANE (IN THREE EPISODES)
Laura Malacart - May 2020
Now. I won’t elaborate on the need to address the economic difficulties of those whose livelihoods belong to precarity, of those whose work is located in the hospitality industry or the arts and entertainment, which is the heart of our cities, I won’t speak about the fact that when politicians announce that viruses do not discriminate, implying a globally and democratically widespread vulnerability to justify a one-fits-all solution, they might erase structural economic differences and the fact that discrimination does exist with the virus since those economically vulnerable are also more vulnerable to illness and because they lack the financial cushioning that might render this time at worst a dull wait, as opposed to a stressful and frightening situation where basic life is at risk, I won’t mention that whilst the lungs of the earth have been choked by the corporate extermination of the Amazonian forest, global warming, unacceptable levels of pollution and the recent combustion of Australian wildlife, eventually human lungs have also been affected.
Did you take at least a breath during this paragraph? I hope so.
As someone multilingual and multicultural I cannot help but experience a life that is beautifully complicated by cultural layers. On this instance I notice how different in style and nuances the responses of different countries have been to the management of the pandemic. And what is even more interesting are not so much the directives coming from centralised power or governments who are attempting to cohere, but how the directives are conveyed on the basis of the expected response or level of cooperation of the population: perhaps a strategy opting for a ‘collaborative’ approach, as opposed to a more hard-nosed sanction-style control, might conceal its own fundamental inability to manage a firmer style, while presenting its approach under a veneer of emancipatory laissez-faire.
Since we are not going to address the issues of those who are vulnerable, we talk about our own time. There seems to be a consensus that time is "frozen" and that we are "on pause" because our activities have been curtailed. Someone has suggested our usual concept of time has been challenged and that time seems to be again "cancelled, lost or frozen".
These are not conceptualisations belonging to string theory or the notion of multiverses, these are generalised responses to a change of routine that has taken place in our lives (not in the lives of those living in permanent warfare conditions, famine, refugee camps, or asylum seekers internment institutions, because their time is not the same as our time)…
To be continued, stay tuned!
Laura Malacart - visual artist and independent researcher, recently a contributor to “Feminist Art, Activisms and Artivisms, Ed. Katy Deepwell. Valiz Publisher, 2020.