Essay

One hundred days in isolation

Instead of drinking a beer on a terrace, you can pick up your favourites in a beer drive through, singing classes are held through Facetime and people continue to hold bingo and cocktail nights via Zoom. The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has the world upside down, but it is inspiring how many creative solutions surface.
Since I’m not able to go to school, see my classmates, build in workshops and have face-to-face feedback moments, this semester required, also from me, an extra dose of creativity and adapting.
The isolation is frustrating, the need to escape and resist grows every day, but staying active keeps me sane.

Even in isolation, people are able to stay connected with each other through Instagram, Facetime, Youtube and Zoom. We are still able to see the world outside our homes through our screens.
To stay connected apart from the screens, our first assignment was to send each other a self-designed postcard.
The design for my postcard I got from the old-school postcard which show a city in big letters with pictures in the letters. On the card I visualized the quote “we now live in a world where online experiences feel more true than real lived ones”[1].
By visualizing the word quarantine as big letters, I made the current situation a city. By filling the letters with logos of online medium, I made them into places you can visit. On the back I wrote a story as if I visited the places and done the things you would be able to do there if it was a real place.
Online you are able to do things and see places you could never experience in real life. In these times of the pandemic, it is very convenient we can use our computer screens as windows to the outside world.

But with just my computer screen as the window to the outside world, the urge to escape my house became bigger. My house became a bubble I was stuck in.
With the soundscape “inside a bubble” I visualize being stuck inside my house. You hear the sounds from the streets while you are inside a bubble. The sounds change when the bubble transforms, influenced by the wind and rain. Within a animation I visualized the movement and transformation of the bubble. By making the bubble into an animation on my computer, I brought it back into my only window to the outside world.

While the computer has been a massive attribute withing the isolation, is has also been my main frustration. For my next project I edited a video out of my list of frustrations.
In the video you see a sequence of short movie clips that fitted my frustrations the best according to an online movie search machine. But after editing the video the connection with the theme frustrations was lost for me.  So, inspired by the project The uncomfortable[2] where Kampari changes everyday objects into object that are frustrating to use, I chose to make my video frustrating to watch with adding effects. Sadly, the outcome became visually more interesting and the only part frustrating was that I work with Adobe After Effects which has an unlimited amount of options. To visualize this frustration, my final video consist of a series of videos edited in After effects which might be recognizable as frustration for people who use After effects as well.

Uniforms are in place to project unity and recognizability but they can also be restricting and limiting. ThereforeI was interested in uniforms and a way to resist them.
In the article “A Brief Cultural History of Uniforms - What does it mean to all dress alike?” Emma McClendon talks about how uniforms are stifling creativity, individuality and expression and they are shown as a symbol of control: “Resistance has always been happening by altering uniforms because uniforms are really about control, controlling the body.”[3]
However, uniforms are also created with the purpose of standing out.  “A punk girl doesn’t want to look like a sorority girl, but she looks similar to another punk girl. So there are these contradictory ideas of belonging and individuality.”[4] Medvedev argues that maybe the best way to stand out these days is by wearing a uniform, but with small, affordable changes or twists.
In my project the resistance doll I want to take back control. Where other online dress up games are limited to changing a whole outfit, in my online game you can pick a uniform, school-, military, McDonalds, etc and with small changes like changing the piping, adding bows, badges, you make the uniform unique and express your creativity. I give control back to the use by resisting the uniform and at the same time being able stand out.

Living in a town where it is very common to be catcalled at, I chose for the theme activism to address this. Being catcalled at makes me feel naked, uncomfortable and unsafe. I want to take back control over feeling like this when a stranger in the streets decides to catcall at me.
Mies Boissevain took back control over the pain she was left with after losing her family in the war. She started making skirts from the victory flags and many women followed her idea. This made them able to deal with the pain while making it and feel united while wearing it. Now known as the bevrijdingsrokken[5]. Betsy Greer found a way to sound her voice through her knitworks and protest in a colourful and happy way. Learning how Boissevain used sewing as a medium to make her feel in control and unite people and Greer used knitting to protest, I started my project “the nice ass dress” The project “nice ass-dress” is a wearable piece consisting of a continuous line of words that are used as catcalls. The words are made out of fabric in a connected swirly font that brings back the innocence and fun in the vulgar sentences. You can wrap this piece around making it a dress and the catcalls will cover up your body instead of them making you feel naked. This gives back control over the body. By saying the words first there is no need to say it anymore, and therefore I will give you back control over the words. So that maybe when you wear my wearable piece on the streets you will feel in control and protected from people catcalling at you.

In conclusion, the 100 days in isolation has given me a lot of insight in my way of creating projects.
In the beginning of the online-semester I focussed on improving my skills in animation and video editing programs. After my second and third project using those programs, I realised that I prefer a balance between projects on screen and physical. So for my last project I decided to switch my medium around. I’m happy I worked with many different media this semester and improved my skills. After the first two projects I felt in lack of inspiration, where normally being outside would help me. After a week struggling with inspiration, I dove more into the given references. By researching them more I found a whole new way of getting inspired. Therefore my fourth project is fully based on researched. Withing my project I like a lot to conceptualize. This could turn into overthinking and not producing. With the short assignments of one week, which was a struggle in the beginning, I learned to make things quickly and building the concept by improving the made work. This process I went through with the third project. By giving myself a rule set to follow I eliminated my way of overthinking the first design. From my first design I was able to improve it into the end result.
A lot of times during this semester, I felt like I was not learning a lot, but looking back I can see now that all the adapting and reinventing learnt me a whole new way of learning, getting inspired and creating.



[1] we are human”

[2] The oncomfortabel, Katrina Kampari, https://www.theuncomfortable.com/

[3] https://www.racked.com/2017/1/4/13982918/uniforms-cultural-history

[4] https://www.racked.com/2017/1/4/13982918/uniforms-cultural-history

[5] https://www.modemuze.nl/themas/de-bevrijdingsrok-nationale-feestrok