Day 1 morning, watching and listening into the group arriving. I join covertly, known to 3 of 5 in the group (I am Number 6). It’s a remote feeling, taking part remotely – across time and space. I eavesdrop on people navigating a return to normalish normality. The unfamiliarity of being in a face to face environment, coming to terms with living ‘with covid’, 2 of 5 wearing masks indoors.
Do you do that thing where you pretend you are someone in a film or book in a new situation? To learn from a predecessors experiences, learn from their mistakes and successes to inform how you will navigate this situation? I briefly tried to inhabit surveillance expert Gene Hackman playing Harry Caul, secluded in my rocking chair, observing through a one way Zoom mirror 4 of the groups presentations. Cos-playing a fictional character is a jumping off point to get into a project – I don’t get too deep into the whole narrative structure, plot line or physiology of work.
It’s harder to take in information when the laptop is not set up from my best point of view. I’m so sick of screens and have been nursing Zoom fatigue for over a year and a half that I didn’t really absorb anything the group presented. I took screen shots, but it’s really difficult to carry on conversations.
Luckily people are blogging about their experiences, so I can catch up. This on-line screen based residency is going to be a challenge for me. It’s unnerving and disorienting to be moved around from laptop or mobile phone. No one on the other side, even though there are 5, seem real to me. Either I made them all up, or they have made me up. This is also because they are all in England, and I’m 8 hour in the future. And what we are going through in terms of the pandemic is very much not ‘all in it together’.
Maybe this pretend time will be the one where I stay with the Gene Hackman character to the paranoid end and tear up my parents house. I don’t have a saxophone, but maybe I can borrow my dad’s accordion player.