Under Virus is a mixed-media project, exploring our collective emotional response to the COVID-19 crisis. The project is a combination of digital images and experimental video. The digital images explore everyday objects that have become iconic during the pandemic while the video explores the isolation and depression that is part of the quarantine experience.
The digital photographs were inspired by the unique phenomena and events surrounding the worldwide pandemic. For instance, at the beginning of the outbreak, there was a rush to buy toilet paper and face masks, which made a normal commodity into a ‘hot cake’ item. In London, some people used toilet paper as chips for gambling. In another example, some people drunk bleach or disinfectant to kill the virus inside their bodies. In the style of contemporary advertising or calendar art and using these objects of special significance to the pandemic, my photographs reflect those realistic elements ironically. In the installation, I compile these photographs into a month-based calendar with stories to document the durational quality and continuity of the pandemic.
What’s more, the frustrated feelings of disconnection and loneliness during the quarantine also gave me the inspiration for my experimental video. The video depicts the imagination and depression of a person who is in quarantine through a first-person perspective. Compared to the bright and vivid visual style of the photographs, the video is dark and anxious. Such a contrast reflects our multifaceted responses to the pandemic, and at the same time, it establishes a special emotional connection between these states of mind.