Vir us by Kate Abbey
30 July - 5 August 2020
Nothing before like this has happened to the nation, and nothing could have prepared us for the sudden mass isolation that occurred during lockdown. On the 23rd March, 2020, 27 million people tuned in to watch Boris Johnson’s televised address as he announced the new social restrictions. Overnight, lifestyles were forced to change drastically in an attempt to curb the overwhelming pressure on the National Health Service, aiming to control the infection ‘peak’ and minimise the death rate. Kate documented her experience of the new restrictions through her two daughters - observing their myriad emotional responses: Sometimes anxious and uncertain, sometimes bored or indifferent and sometimes just missing their friends. As the days rolled into weeks, she found beauty in the mundane, watching the activities repeated as they lived in the limits of the immediate vicinity, thankful of being safe with no family or friends at risk.
Wanting to add more breadth to her observations, she started to record people’s feelings and ideas as they navigated through this new landscape. Intermixing this along with the pandemic-frenzied news broadcasting of those seven weeks, the following piece gives her slant on an extremely unique period of history: one that only a handful of weeks later, had yet again changed, taking those temporary attitudes and emotions with them.
No matter how people tried to make sense of the initial lockdown, it was invariably as something as extraordinary to them as Kate’s was to her.
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image © Kate Abbey