We kindly inform that your browser is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Please switch to a more secure browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge.

Credits: Mark Rothko: Saffron, 1957.

Postpandemic blues

It is over and yet not over. It is here but gone.

The ground is shaking and I am confused. The unusually cold May and June would be good for hibernation, but the idea makes me shudder. No more isolation, thank you. Yet, I cannot think and I forget to breathe.

This has to stop. Now I say it to myself. This has to stop. 
I can’t go on. 
I am petrified, I am paralysed.
The pressure is immense. I cannot think. I cannot move.

The post pandemic reality is to find our bearings in a here and now that is not the same as two years ago. The new normal is that there is no normal. Normal is canceled.

The not really post but not pandemic either state is a gigantic double-bind situation where the message is to go on as business as usual and at the same time stare at the high infection rates. There is no business as usual. Two years is a long time.

I carry on as if business as usual.
Business as usual. Business as usual.
There is no business as usual. 
I go on like business as usual. Doing things, working on.

We are in a state of collective mourning and post-depression. We are now collectively recuperating and convalescencing, crawling out of depression, tired, slightly confused and tentatively curious. Post-pandemia and post-depression in one. Working is a good remedy, did we not re-evaluate work?

When overwhelmed, take one step at a time. Change takes time, I tell myself. I am not satisfied. I work too little and too much. I do not want to work too much and working too little makes me depressed. I have a place in the world and yet not a place. I keep on moaning. What about balance? That would be new for a workhorse like me, doing too much rather than too little.

Everything was thrown around during the past two years, we looked inwards, developed spiritually and now what? This is a tentative moment, how to carry the good that we gained in the past years into this shaky world. Working on in our professions and keep on changing, floating, staying open. Where is the place for this self-developed me I ask. I keep on looking.

The old will not return and this is good. Now we can connect and navigate in new ways. Perhaps not easy when old manners kick in, and time is running scarce, always worth trying.

Personally I used to stand as the lonely warriorin on the hill with her flag swaying, looking over the lands, sniffing the wind of the future, the past, the present in order to decide in which direction to plunge ahead.

Here I gently touch the weave of the present. Stories of the past and the future are unfolding from the tapestry that the norns are weaving. Bide my time, take my time. Gather knowledge, sensing, sniffing, talking. I remind myself about the here and now and that I am another. I fluctuate between past and present and sometimes the past in the present feels like clothes that once fitted and now chafe.

I know, it does take time to look at the world anew. And now this happens on a collective level, where so many of us are puzzled. A strange energy is in the air, a not yet here, not yet there energy, devoid of anchor points. Now this is an interesting, although unsettling moment. No wonder audiences are not flocking to the theaters or events, we are only getting used to daily life.

Art will survive and our conditions will be different. We will make new friends, leaving some old. The audiences will return, opportunities will come and competition will be there. We will make it although things will be different, because we are different.

Structures change if we want them to. In the moment of awakening it is a good idea to take time and reflect on what we really want. Lets see if the shift of perspective will influence structures in the art world, will the energy and lethargy turn into a new dawn?

Give yourself time, talk, move, think of structures, think of what you want, be kind and gently unfold to the world, and gently help each other unfold. In the end all might look different than before and that is more than okay.

The text quotes are from the choir in Children and Other Radicals (2018). I wrote a text that was the inspiration for the choir text in a state of mourning. Today I am often reminded of both this text and the emotions during that time, therefore I draw a parallel to a state collective mourning right now.

The Norns (Old Norse: norn [ˈnorn], plural: nornir [ˈnornez̠]) are deities in Norse mythology responsible for shaping the course of human destinies. (Wikipedia)

I want to thank Veit Sprenger for his comment that art is depressed right now, that made me think about depression on a societal and collective level.