How to be Productive During an Apocalypse?

Focusing on my work is one of those things that has always been a semi struggle for me. I can have an excellent focus on my work, but it takes having a well ordered environment for me to get there. A good chunk of my work is done in my home studio, which is also my bedroom. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to get something done, incorporating home/studio maintenance was an absolute necessity. Being in an ordered organized environment gives me the calmness that I need for that focus and the ability to create.

Now, this is not to say that I can’t function in chaos, it’s actually quite the opposite. Chaotic situations cry out for order and that makes my focus go into overdrive. Emergencies are a type of situation that I do well in, as I can quickly and calmly focus and figure out the best course of action. It is the demand to make order that gets my focus.

The current situation we all find ourselves in is something I have never encountered before – an apocalypse. (I don’t use the article ‘the’, but ‘an’, humans have encountered these kinds of events before and we will again after this one passes.) The similarities to the AIDS epidemic are definitely there, but that experience did not prepare me for this – the fear of just going outside or doing the simplest of tasks, like being around other people to do basic shopping. To say that this is overwhelming is an understatement.

The chaos has made me focus on the immediate needs – do we have enough food? Is the house clean enough? How do we pay bills? What precautions should I be taking? The never ending horror show of our government has been all consuming and unbelievable and has been putting me into an almost constant grief state. It is utterly unfathomable and stupefying to me that the things that we are witnessing. A chaos that is out of my control. While I’ve always been a keen observer of society, I’m able to separate the things that were out of my control and let them be. It took a while to nurture that ability and now I find that I have to re-develop it for a unique moment.

Going Outside

I’m lucky that I’ve got a good place to live – comfortable, pleasant, centrally located, and a small yard/garden. Being able to actually, physically go somewhere else, though, has become a revelation. The world is incredibly small. I don’t have places to go to anymore, and now my life is in an even much smaller area than before. No going out for pleasure, no going to Oakland to play hockey or see the boyfriend. No going to my studio at Gray Area. No nights out just to see people, live music, movies, performances, or anything else for that matter.
With no hockey, the only intense exercise I’m getting right now is bike riding. I’ve always enjoyed it and with the plague keeping everyone inside, it’s taken on that quality it used to have when I was little and first learned how to ride a bike – it was liberating and exciting to be able to go fast and go places more easily. Now, it’s a liberation from the gilded cage of home.

Grief

Grief

A while back in the hazy memory of a few/several/some days ago, I read an article, don’t remember by who, or from where, (who can remember things anymore?), but the author (some type of therapist/counselor) wrote about how the experience we are collectively feeling now is grief.  I hadn’t really thought what I was going through, I was just trying to get through it, what else can you do when the world falls apart?

Ever since, more than 2 weeks ago, I started getting messages from people and saw reports from reputable medical professionals that I know, I realized that all hell was about to break loose. My thoughts rushed into extreme preparation mode; I had just recently restocked our earthquake supplies and had a list in my head of almost all of our supplies at home.  Aside from certain things, my household is ready for about 2 or so weeks. Our water, though, would last about 5-6 days. It didn’t seem enough…BUT WAIT – I had to remind myself that this wasn’t an event that would destroy infrastructure, but people. Neutron bombs and viruses are as destructive as hurricanes and tornados, just in a different fashion.

Day to day has become a so much more involved effort – the hour wait to get into the grocery store (metered entrance, limited number of people in the store, 6 feet distance as much as possible) and the empty shelves. Consistently 20%-30% of the shelves are empty. And their hours are shortened, both by being open less hours, and reserving certain hours to those over 60. 

My roommates are definitely a blessing – when surviving becomes a more group effort you need a good group to be part of. Cooking together, watching movies, playing video or card games. Hanging out and talking, or just letting one another be in our thoughts as we all process this shock. 

Shock is too light of a word, this is something that locked me and froze me. And each day is *another* fucking bombshell, a continuous, ongoing shock and trauma. How does one peel oneself away from it? It’s coming to you live (and in color!) from the internet, directly to the palm of your hand, etched into your brain. The horror makes it impossible to think about anything else but how to survive.

And then I read that article and i started thinking about how immobilizing grief is – it’s a hole in you that you can never fill and sometimes it feels like it has swallowed you forever, disjointed and broken. There’s no stage for this grief, and no one alive right now has ever experienced a large die off in our species. How does one react to an apocalypse?

Light.Wav Festival

I got invited to join a really great art and technology festival in Sacramento called Light.Wav, happening on July 19th and 20th, 2019.
Festival Info
Tickets

It’s exciting for me to get another chance to show my installation Hive and to be included with such a talented group of artists and musicians. 

I’d like to thank the festival organizer, Alex Trujillo, for the opportunity and hope that we see you in Sacramento! 

Been mandala light box under normal room light, so the original image comes out.
Bee mandala under normal light.
Photo of bee mandala lightbox with the LEDs glowing red and blue in the dark.
Bee mandala with glowing red and blue LEDs in the dark.

New URBan Landscapes – Meet the artists

If you missed our opening for URB – New URBan landscapes, don’t worry – myself and Mark Powers are going to be at Dada on Thursday March 7th from 5-7pm. Hopefully, you’re already out for First Thursday enjoying all the great art and can stop by Dada for even more.

Still from URBan Life / URBan Projection

Thursday, March 7th, 5-7pm, URB Artists Meet and Greet at Dada Bar.
65 Post street (across from Crocker Galleria), San Francisco, CA.