Connecting to Disconnection..
We are two weeks into our lock down here in South Africa and I’m starting to get a sense of disconnection. Many of you may have already felt this…For me, having worked for over a year alone in my studio, I’m quite used to being on my own. However, this is a different kind of disconnection….. and it’s having an impact on me today.
Today, I can’t get a sense of the heartbeat of the world. The main-line train that wraps our property, hooting at the level crossing and braking on the curve, has all but stopped. There is no morning forest and farm workers singing on the backs of passing trucks… even they have gone quiet on my little strip of Dargle road. This disconnection extends to who I am in this world, what part am I playing as I stay here encamped in the beauty of my home surroundings.
And it IS beautiful here… but the world out there is experiencing something not so beautiful.
People are dying alone in hospital wards and the numbers are growing daily. In our cities, homeless people are starving.. Not only with nourishment from food, but from the buzz of action that has become their norm. Surely they must be feeling an oddness about themselves too.
Within this sense of disconnection, there lays helplessness… An insignificance… A lesson in the desire to be relevant in the bigger picture.
Many of us have friends and family out there in the front line, actively engaged and risking their lives on a daily basis, yet I’m feeling disconnected from them too in an odd sort of way. I’m frustrated that it’s not me at the bedside of what I can do to help. I feel this frustration swell up within me and I do everything in my power to settle it. Strangely, I resist ‘settling’ in order to feel alive in a world I no longer feel actively a part of.
I refuse to dwell on the obvious financial implications for us all, especially in relation to the arts.. For me, that is something we will just have to deal with in time. .. Today I need to unpack this emotion of ‘disconnection’ and understand a way forward.
Across the world people are now shut into confined spaces… I have a big green and blue view and a large field of grass to walk in, yet I feel envious of those living in Italian apartments singing out to each other. Is it odd that today I want to get a glance of a neighbour hanging out their washing …or hear the barking of another dog. Is it strange that I yearn to feel the silence and light in now abandoned inner city streets. That I miss London. ! I wonder if isolation feels the same for everyone, despite your surroundings.
My beautiful ‘Midlands scene’ view that I look at lovingly every day, from every window, felt expansive last week. Today there is a hint of claustrophobia. How is that possible?
All that I know is what I see on television or see in images on social media. I see a world gone quiet on the streets, I see suffering, I see fear, I see uncertainty, I see confusion, I see humour despite adversity. I see the NOW from a seat within my four walls. My frustration is that I can’t be in it out there; I can’t touch the wound or pour out the healing energy.. I can’t hug a friend, laugh at their side or wipe away sadness. Because of a compromised immunity I can’t enjoy the simple act of swinging a basket through a grocery store. The physical and emotional separation is the source of this disconnection.
It’s created an imbalance .. And we all know the importance of that in our lives.
As an artist, I have a responsibility to myself to create my way through this. Despite being on the sideline, I have to find a new way to feel involved. I have to find a way to engage with this disconnection so that it nurtures me rather than depletes me. But mostly, I need to question things until it changes and evolves me into something new. I wonder how this time will ultimately change or enrich us all… I wonder if this will just be something we dust off in our surge of the busy-ness of life ahead.