A digital project, displaying the quotidian and emotions of its international contributors under Covid-19 circumstances and highlighting the audience’s diversity
Amid the pandemic, Kelsey Falter, an artist focused on public participatory art and Bowie Lewandowski, a filmmaker, formed the conceptual art collective This Immediate Life. In collaboration with Mat Silwa and Kat Bayard, short Mat+Kat – a photography duo based in Brooklyn – and with the support of journalist, artist and activist Tansy Kaschak, they established the Self-Portraits in Quarantine project, featuring portraits and interviews of creatives from across the world and celebrating creativity and diversity. An artist’s instruction manual was assembled and distributed to participants, after which they interpret the directions in their way. «We decided to create Instructables, which are instructions on how people could create together, while still being separate», the founders’ recount. «We saw over 100 responses within the first week of sharing the documentation with friends. Now over 1,000 followers have started watching the project unfold».
With the beginning of a year, there come resolutions, aspirations, and changes. Every New Year equals a restart. Not so the year 2020. The Australian bush fires in January, threatening the country’s South Coast, were followed by the final leaving of Great Britain from the European Union, the impeachment process of Donald Trump and the discovery of Covid-19 in Wuhan, resulting in global lockdown regulations. The disease lead to an increase in the worldwide unemployment rate, challenged our Health Care Workers, the economy, politicians, and people’s mental health.
However, not all occurrences of twenty-twenty had their negatives. The lockdown achieved unity, sustaining through the connection of social media. Users commenced sharing news updates, safety regulations, and petitions. The era of Zoom shifted work and education online, innovators and creatives discovered the digital world as a medium for spreading political and social messages, such as the Black Lives Matter or Pride movement. Online platforms have been the ultimate way for people to stay connected and aware of what happens outside their homes. «We have relied on digital communication long before this pandemic. I think now is the time we have actually been able to embrace the immediacy and connectivity technology has given us», says contributor Kurt Johnson.
Amongst all, it has been the birth year of the This Immediate Life.
A digital project, displaying the quotidian and emotions of its international contributors under Covid-19 circumstances and highlighting the audience’s diversity. It is a record of the times. After Forster, The Immediate Life celebrates humanity across borders, languages, ages, genders, skin tones, professions, and time zones. Through the artist manual instructions, the team intends achieving a sense of co-creation around the world. People of Colour and Ethnic Minorities, homo- and heterosexual couples have participated, following the same guidelines. In order to participate, everyone has to upload two self-instructed photographs – including one portrait, one full-body image – and additionally answer the questionnaire, provided on the project website. The interview examines the lockdown experiences of an individual, intending to highlight both – the positives and challenges of this period.
The project enables its partakers to dedicate their energy to the process of creating artwork and reflecting the influence, the pandemic had on their minds and lives. «We wanted to create something collaborative. Anything that needs to be created, it has a greater impetus to happen NOW. Staying focused on creating the most beautiful life within this lifetime becomes more important», says the founder. This Immediate Life has received submissions from community agents like ‘Mission Chinese’s’ Danny Bowien, an award-winning chef and restaurateur in Chinatown and Brooklyn. Other submissions have come from Italy, Japan, China, Lithuania, Mexico, or the Netherlands, including as stylist Paul Biu and photographer Charlie Engman. «The amount of submissions we’ve received confirms that despite our limitations we still have a desire for human connection and expression».