2020 04 13 / These Extraordinary Times with Jyll Bradley

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M.R, Film still. Courtesy The Artist, March 2020.

LP: How has your daily routine changed?

JB: All my projects and funding have been delayed by up to a year. This affects any artist’s daily routine in multiple ways. However, since January I have been in a solitary state as I am in writing mode for M.R. a new, autobiographical film I am making. For me writing is an early morning thing, only achieved with a very clear head. So, I had dialled down on things that break the spell: emails, social media, travel. I am trying to watch the news just once a day to know what is going on, but not to become overwhelmed by something I cannot change.

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

JB: I create social spaces through my work, however their origins lie in solitude – which I crave…and now it’s mandatory! But in fact, I’m not alone…I can’t get to my hermetically sealed studio so am euphemistically ‘working from home’, or rather, ‘being at home’, working – a space I share with my partner. Our flat is long and lean so we keep a see-saw equilibrium by carefully occupying different ends of it during daylight hours. As dusk falls, I can be found in the liminal space between making worthy vegetarian dinners. Much to her annoyance.

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

JB: I have a spiritual leader friend who talks about the art of re-entering the world after a retreat. Instead of immediately pinging on every turbo charged device she calls her mother and asks: ‘what do I need to know?’ Coronavirus is not a retreat – but it is allowing the natural world a sabbatical from us. If there is to be a silver lining in this tragedy, then, when time dictates, we need to dial in slowly and listen to what’s changed – both for ourselves and the planet. As artists we are well positioned to re-evaluate our place in creation.

LP: Make up your own question and answer it.

JB: It’s Passover (Pesach). Do you know any good chocolate cake recipes?

Sugar: 395 grams

Potato flour: 115 grams

Cocoa powder: 50 grams

Baking Powder: 2 teaspoons

Salt: ½ teaspoon

Eggs: 4

Sunflower oil: 120 mls

Black coffee: 120 mls

Preheat the oven to 150C. Whisk together all the dried ingredients. Add the eggs and wet ingredients. Mix well. Pour into a baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Eat alone, together, on balconies with neighbours or on Zoom.