Your SELF-HELP GUIDE
TO LEARNING FROM LOCKDOWN
This guide is dedicated to sharing lessons, ideas and tools that will help you find meaning from the challenges of life during lockdown.
Journey through 13 artworks that were created during the pandemic to reflect on new possibilities for personal growth, from fitness and self-care to feeling sensual and staying connected.
As we enter a post pandemic world, this guide offers a resource for finding solace and inspiration in all uncertain times.
Commissioned by Cement Fondu
This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW
with Kenny Pittock
Inspired by the most exciting part of the week - a trip to the supermarket - Kenny Pittock created a series of small hand painted, ceramic sculptures that appear throughout this guide. They are a celebration of the mundane and a playful response to these trying times.
The series features Aeroplane jelly, tic toc biscuits, Crayons, flat batteries, an SD card, Up n’Go and a set of icy poles re-named Apocalipso’s that come in five flavours so you can work your way through them.
Denial Donut, Bargaining Bubble Gum, Angry Orange, Depressed Durian and, finally, Acceptance Apricot.
with Giselle Stanborough
Wander through the complexities of the mind-body problem to journey to Foucault’s analysis of the human under Neoliberalism: ‘homo-economicus’.
Made on TikTok, a video sharing app that is seen by many as a highly unproductive timesink, this video by Giselle Stanborough challenges the internalised need to justify self-worth through productivity, and argues for the need to unwrench our minds from cognitive capitalism in order to reclaim the richness of our mental landscapes as our own.
“I’d been planning on doing this re-start for art the whole time, but for whatever reason have been paralysed in my state.
Art is life, being given the chance to re-start and get going is all I needed to reform, for now.”
BE ONE WITH
with Kawita Vatanajyankur
Housework is never-ending and usually physically and psychologically exhausting. While often unappreciated and considered women’s work, in fact, it requires strength, power and endurance.
To create Sponge, I slowly turn my body into a cleaning sponge to clean the dish. The repetitive action and the squeezing of my face created a moving meditation through which I transformed entirely into a cleaning sponge. At times, my face was forced to submerge and soak in the cleaning soap before coming back up to be pushed against the dish continuously and sometimes violently.
with Jodie Whalen
Adequately satisfy our need to embrace the intangible, to connect to something bigger than ourselves. Satisfy our deep needs, feelings and beliefs.
Search for meaning, connect to others, have a sense of peace and purpose.
Is it adequate? What is adequate? Are we adequate?
So many questions, so much time, repeat. The sun rises and the sun sets.
Everything is slowed. The air is clearer. Is the sky brighter?
A shift of reality, a shift in priorities, a shift in distractions.
In Liminal Space, a new video produced entirely in the time of COVID-19, sublime imagery and transitory moments become symbolic analogues of emotional and spiritual states of being. Slow and repetitive like a meditation, the soundtrack is the driving narrative in juxtaposition to the visual narrative; it is the detail in the slowness and the stillness of the images.
LOOKING FOR eye-contact
with Jen Jamieson
We are biologically wired for physical connection, touch and eye contact – none of which are easy online.
The love hormone Oxytocin is created by hugs, touching, eye contact and even walking and talking, but in person. In a time when dating digitally is evermore critical, this how-to-video offers crucial advice for effectively communicating and touching online.
This is not a predetermined choreography - just a promise of moving together for 25 minutes every Wednesday at 4pm.
with Amrita Hepi
This is a proposition to move together (with a provocation & playlist) without the interface of the digital realm. No to zoom! No Insta live! No to flat bodies on a screen! Just moving and dancing together in our varied spaces at the same time with no evidence other than the commitment, communion and vow of others - to be psychically connected across time/space/dreaming and imagination (I take your hand in my hand and across the floor - the rest is up to you).
In a time where we are being asked to recalibrate and painstakingly refit our existences/practices/communications and intimacies into the engulfing world of the digital - which is always watching whether we are online or not (our absence feeds techno-capitalism as much as our presence now)- we want to flatten the curve, not flatten our experiences and capacity to assemble and to make things.
Across 5 weeks we will release a playlist and a provocation - at 4pm every Wednesday.
Soothsayer is a person who can predict the future by magical, intuitive or even rational means - a provocation to this moving together-ness is that we become that sage.
with The Motel Sisters
You’re not bored on the sofa, you’re headlining at “Couchella”!
Paris and Tacky Motel check-in with each other and their fans during lockdown by sharing a series of Iso glow-up tips via social media and video messaging - including fashion forward ways to keep all of our daily routines lit, DIY pamper tips for maintaining a sense of lusciousness and candid insights into their new fave pandemic pastimes.
with Mechelle Bounpraseuth Barilla
Observe and learn from the video Loohk Mae ລູກແມ - a Lao phrase that translates to 'Mother's child'. In it, Mechelle Bounpraseuth Barilla gifts her mother’s traditions to her daughter during this time of reflection and healing in isolation.
My connection to Laotian culture was through my mother- hearing her sing Laotian songs and share stories of homeland life, dancing Lamvong (traditional folk dance) together, and learning to cook.
Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness removed many aspects of Laotian culture from my life through its teachings. The tools, techniques, imagery and memories surrounding food in my work enable me to reclaim my cultural experience and remain connected to my mother after her loss.
Te ahi. The rage of fire with Mahuika is recognisable through my soul during the era of distance. I see a glimpse of normality when I’m present with nature and the roots of Tāne Mahuta. He brings me closer to Mother Earth, Papatūānuku. Sensuality is present when I feel calm with the raging waters turning soft on my skin, within te Moana in line with Tangaroa. Freedom rises & falls when my third-eye settles in the skies with Tāwhirimātea and his father Ranginui. I am empowered with Aotearoa wherever I may be.
These emotions must settle within me as a spirit. I’m spending time with the natural elements of the Earth, infused with the elements of depth within my movement, image & culture.
Release your senses and allow them to be free. Be open to your own interpretation and use your senses to communicate your connection to self and your own perception of divinity.
with Salote Tawale & Sidney McMahon
Taking its title from a Roland Barthes series of lectures, How to Live Together documents how time passes in isolation for one Sydney household.
From their small apartment to the carwash, follow how Salote Tawale & Sidney McMahon maintain their social lives and relationships during the global pandemic and reflect with them on moments of disconnection and connection, silence and togetherness.
Where you’d RADHA be!
with Shahmen Suku as Radha
It’s okay to let yourself go too, Radha has - so why don’t you?
She is however re-emerging with the hottest (Brown people hot) kitchen recipes, with healing properties verified by the highest authority: The Aunties in Radha’s Family. Open Notes on your phone and type this ethnic tasting, culturally reappropriated recipe down, your body might thank you for it.
with JD REFORMA
Savage is a digital performance in which JD Reforma utilises TikTok to embody a filmed interaction between Chinese-born American journalist, Weijia Jiang and US President, Donald Trump. During their exchange, he infamously responds to one of her questions by suggesting that, “you should ask China.”
In the original footage, the journalist’s mouth and dialogue are obscured by a face mask in contrast to Trump who appears without a mask. Using the ‘Duet’ facility of TikTok, the artist lip syncs and animates her questions while coordinating his body to the viral choreography of the #SavageChallenge (originally created by user Keara Wilson in response to the global hit ‘Savage’, by American rapper Megan Thee Stallion). In melding these references, he produces a strange performance in which synchronicity is displaced by conflict, and choreography moves bodies to an inaudible will.
Savage reflects on the racism that has defined Trump’s response to COVID-19 – among other pandemics – as well as the soft power exerted globally by American popular and political culture. It leans into the chimeric absurdity of contemporary media and domestic self-performance during our shared self-isolation. If the pandemic is the “great equaliser”, then who is nasty? Who is savage?