September 19, 2021

How Have We Been Changed by This Time?

Susie Rose Dalton

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Porcelain Treated with Cyanotype ChemicalsFlare, 20211.5m x 4m x 0.04m

The pandemic brings many personal and political issues into sharp relief, making us keenly aware of the things we, personally and in our communities, need to survive. While we enjoy relative freedom now, many of us are changed by the experience. My experience was one of loneliness. Like 7.9 million people in the UK, I have lived alone throughout the pandemic. The sun became my only physical companion for the vast majority of time since March 2020. I created a permanent record of its presence by making a porcelain tile for every day of lockdown (459), coating them in a solution which turns blue in the sun, and placing them throughout my living space. Social isolation is difficult to show. It is an absence. It carries a taboo, as loneliness is still seen as a personal problem rather than the result of a dysfunctional society or government priorities. Its impact is largely invisible. Not all experiences in this pandemic have been visible, but the impact has been transformative nonetheless. As we approach a second pandemic winter, we must recognise the personal and collective transformations we have all undergone, and organise a response which leaves no one behind.