In this series of image-extracts we explore measures of the coronavirus pandemic that we experienced during the first year while at home, in lockdown, in two cities in Australia. The seemingly simple act of ‘physical distancing’ unfolds a myriad of mobility, wayfinding, and spatial orientations that shape the socio-material fabric of collective life. Physical distancing has mandated new measures of how people orient their body amongst other bodies in public space. In-situ measurements of spatial and affective registers attempt to alleviate possible contagions while adhering to health advice. Performing such measures is a complex, contextual, and emotional task. We reinforce these new measured barriers through small social and bodily registers, to secure the small bubbles of individual space that encapsulate ourselves from others, from the unknown, menacing, preemptive ‘what if’ contagion that has gripped the world.
The importance of measurement and the practice of measuring has never been as obvious and integral to daily life. However, the notions of measure – how one feels, moves, acts, and thinks – have been long imbued in the governance of collective ideas, goals, practices, and action. The images are drawn from a series of diagrammatic, performative, and video-based experiments by the two artists during lockdown, functioning as creative mediations on the measures of the pandemic as we experienced and practiced it in daily life. In Kaya’s images, the externalised directives of how and where bodies should be positioned when out in public space; in Jondi’s images and video, an internalised and enforced self-reflection as one is contained inside. Together, our creative responses manifest these interior—exterior, internalised—externalised experiences. They seek to highlight performative, multi-sensory, and aesthetic responses to these new measures, as our daily im/mobilities altered in response to government guidelines and restrictions.