2020 05 05 / These Extraordinary Times with Carlos Irijalba

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Image Courtesy The Artist

LP: How has your daily routine changed?

CI: Well, the world has stopped and our time has multiplied; we all have emptied our inbox. Now what? The biggest change I would say has been the measure of time. We just became parents of little Lima (now 2 months old) both the quarantine and parenting came together so it feels like entering a new dimension of time altogether. Little sleep, work and meals spread homogeneously over our days like hot butter over toast.

LP: Many artists work in solitude ordinarily. How has isolation or social distancing affected you in these times?

CI: In that sense nothing changes much, the password of my wifi is Oasis, because I normally can spend days without leaving my house/studio, only for shopping and running, so I realize my everyday routine is just like a quarantine. The social distancing is for me, like for many people I think, the toughest. Going to a bar one hour before meeting somebody to have a beer on your own with your note book and no agenda- those things seem like such a luxury now. I miss my friends the most, talking about nothing important or giving each other feedback. The artist is very lonely and friendships are our best therapy.

LP: If there is any silver lining, what is it?

CI: I remember in the last Climate Change summit all countries discussing how it would take us 60 years to reduce emissions, and BAM! Covid-19 The world stops from one day to the other, the air is cleaner than ever, there are wild boars on the streets…. it shows how we are part of a system whose strength we are incapable of understanding. Nature was giving us small warnings for decades and we just wouldn't listen. This time, a virus, coming from a wild animal market, spreading faster through western world, using our air traffic habits as highways, affecting older and unhealthy humans and barely harming children, seems designed by nature as the ultimate wake up call.

LP: Make up your own question and answer it:

CI: If there is a message in it, what do you think it is?

I really, really hope we listen and are able to change our consumption, dietary and mobility habits. There is still so much more we can do. I gave a seminar this winter about the unnecessary and how superfluous certain aspects of art are. As artists we are lucky to be able to dedicate our lives to reflecting on our world and society. I think we need to actively pose questions and formulate different ways of dealing with resources, materials and production. Same as in every other field I hope we use this opportunity to edit our contributions and reduce the overwhelming noise.