This article is a part of the Thesis Eleven online project: Living and Thinking Crisis
When the strict confinement was announced in Barcelona, where I live, I was just finishing a text on my uncle who died in Tasmania in 1956 as a young immigrant from Northern Greece. Due to the utter silence surrounding that death in my family, the text had been hard to write; in a certain sense, the radical change of the social situation around me just then was welcome as it forebode the end of that writing. Soon, however, words were failing me altogether and it didn’t feel like a relief. This was the case not only with my words but also with the words of others that I had access to online. I found them meaningless, pompous and worn.
Instead, images and dreams took on an increasingly insistent presence in my mind. I surrendered to those. After a time of taping dreams whose surface was re-written in order to make them publishable, I started making collages with images cut out of the Sunday supplement of the newspaper I usually read, and which I continued to buy in paper despite the lockdown: I stuck to the rule of only using this material, which was contemporary to the unfolding pandemic. The images that most struck me had to do with deserted cities and the return of animals, and with the hospitals’ staff performance of their tasks.
Here, I present eighteen collages of a series of forty, which deal with these two main themes metaphorically i.e. displacing people, animals, things from their context. I found that such a move shed some light onto the emotions the situation brought forth, but also onto the absurdity of some discourses, such as the omnipresent language of war or the amazed discovery that the vast majority of carers are women.
Nathalie Karagiannis (email@example.com) is a poet and a political and social theorist. Her last poetry book Apoikia (Colony) came out in 2018 and questions the relation between history and aesthetics. Nathalie is currently working primarily on a book-length essay called ‘The idea of Berlin’. Some of her work in progress and past work can be found at: nathaliekaragiannis.com