Janine allen

The aura of corona

At the beginning of 2020 a realisation gradually dawned upon South Africans that the Corona Virus would soon reach the tip of Africa. South Africans could just somewhat comprehend the immediate future and the lifestyle adaptations that were to be made. With a renewed sense of collectivity, a vulnerable and fragmented nation came to terms with South Africa's crazy lockdown measures, which was described as some of the strictest measures in the world. The Afrikaans word oorbluf (Engl. being stunned) best describes the emotions that I experienced at that time. I remember...unbelievably awake, I was, in the charcoal hours of the morning... I had drawn a tiny pixel in a makeshift diary to indicate the first South African Covid 19 -patient or index case. Later I had an animated nightmare, perhaps a vision. I saw that a group of spectators and I massed on a shore, but was rapidly teleported to a control room of a cargo ship. With all the electronics on board and and no matter how much angled weight was placed on the ship's humongous steering wheel, the ship, with all its projected might was sailing straight into the midst of a superstorm. In the dream some of us looked backwards and surprisingly saw a widespread devastation on the shore. The media theorist Vilém Flusser argues that humans always imagined apocalypses as futuristic scenarios, but fail to grasp the catastrophes of the present day.

The exhibition and digital site "A wound in time" gave me the opportunity to exhibit the work I have produced in the advent and duration of the pandemic. The work which are now exhibited in an installation format and deal with the many facets of my experience of the pandemic. The coronavirus got its name, because of the virus' spike protein that recalls a crown, but a corona mostly describes the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere that are seen by the naked eye during a stellar eclipse. The corona or aura of the sun highlights the magical quality of solar eclipses. A Solar Eclipse or a Black Tipharet has historically been associated with sudden changes, twists of fate or the bringing about of a catastrophe. The work I am exhibiting explores how the aura of our Corona looks like. My work deal with the origins of the virus and I also documented the first few months of the virus. My performative photography aims to visualise the atmosphere of South Africa's severe lockdowns. Through the work I am also commenting on the one hand on the plundering of resources during the pandemic and on the other hand the rediscovery of natural resources. Having attracted Covid 19 and living in my studio during the period of isolation, I have reflected on the role of mentors in my life as well as my life as artist and lecturer who mentors others. These reflections take place with the notion that while the world somehow always remains in crisis, there are moments of standstill. Some of these moments were offered by the presence of the virus. But the metaphysical questions are What did we do with this opportunity? How can we further enable quiet times so that we can explore the power of our spirit? And lastly, how do we re-energise a humanity by nurturing our surroundings?