How do we create whilst waiting?

Even as the Lockdowns of Spring 2020 sowed and unmasked divisions within societies all over the world, they also brought with them elements of shared experience. When we were confined within our homes, flats, rooms, and balconies, time itself was put on hold. Life paused. Cities fell silent, subways were muted, long awaited family gatherings were cancelled. We waited in a non-time: seconds still ticked on but our lives did not move forward with them. We didn’t know when we would return to our jobs and schools, to our regular patterns of life.

It was in this pocket of frozen time that the Viral Papers project was set up by two COVID-graduates, Julia Lasica and Anna Curzon Price. It was the urge to understand how to create, how to make meaning, traces and marks of existence in this non-time which prompted the project. Our understandings of time, productivity, and our place in the future were all called into question. Viral Papers was an attempt to come to grips with this change.

Even as lockdowns are eased and some forms of normality are reintroduced, uncertainty clings to the plans and ambitions of many across the globe, particularly amongst the young. We are asked to be patient and to wait for things to become more manageable and comprehensible: to hold on until a vaccine is developed or the R number falls. We are told to continue with our lives even as the spectre of a second lockdown looms before us. But, of course, we don’t want to just wait. We are alive and experiencing and feeling now. We want to create something out of this non-time that we inhabit, to prevent it from dissipating as we sit in the interval between the world we once knew and the world which awaits us, one which is free of Covid. This project is about asking: how can we inhabit a life on hold?

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