The Quarantine Chronicles 30 😷 Caroline Stockford

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the British poet and translator Caroline Stockford, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


The Quarantine Chronicles 28 😷 Rana Haddad

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Syrian novelist Rana Haddad, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


1-

I’m thinking a lot about whether Covid 19 is a curse or a gift. Perhaps it carries the possibility of both depending on how we choose to look at it, like one of these strange Freudian drawings.

I’m also thinking a lot about the idea of ‘Post-Truth’ – In a time of chronic post-truth how can we trust what the media and politicians and even international organisations are telling us about the virus? Are they weaponising it for their own ends? Do they have our best interests at heart? They never did before, so why would they now?

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The Quarantine Chronicles 26 😷 Sari Zananiri

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Palestinian-Australian artist Sari Zananri, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


The Quarantine Chronicles 16 😷 Diego Cano

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Spanish cultural entrepreneur Diego Cano, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


The Quarantine Chronicles 15 😷 Larissa Sansour

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Palestinian artist and filmmaker Larissa Sansour, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world. I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


1. My work often deals with the speculative and contextualizes politics in the framework of science fiction. In my films, I often imagine post-apocalyptic future scenarios based on our present and I try to underline the blurry line between the real and the fictional. These days, it is hard not think of the apocalypse as fictional. It feels that my work has become documentary overnight.

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The Quarantine Chronicles 10 😷 Chrisoula Lionis

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Greek-Australian scholar Chrisoula Lionis, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


The Quarantine Chronicles 9 😷 Julian Gallo

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the American writer Julian Gallo, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


1

The direction the world is heading. I’m particularly concerned with the right wing populist turn in America and across the world. You’re beginning to see the same things and hear the same rhetoric one heard in the 1920s and 1930s and it’s quite alarming. The rise in division: ethnic, religious, and so on. I fear we haven’t learned any lessons from history and as the saying goes, we are doomed to repeat them.

2

There are good people around and I think the more we focus on each other’s humanity and realize that we really aren’t so ‘different’ from one another, that we have the same hopes, fears, concerns, dreams, desires, that maybe — maybe — there’d be a little more empathy in the world. Right now there’s too much righteous anger but I think these are just the loudest voices in the room. There’s also a lot of good and it’s important we focus our attention on that and shut off all the noise. Personally, I just want to keep writing and hopefully connect with others with similar interests and ideas.

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The Quarantine Chronicles 8 😷 Joe Linker

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the American writer Joe Linker, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


 

My response took the form of a folk song because the virus comes without boundaries,

and while Folk originates in a particular place and time, it travels, and becomes universal.

 

There are four simple verses to the song, each in answer to one of your questions:

 

“The Hotel Cairo Cosmopolitan Talking Blues”

 

Well, I don’t know what to think these days,

walking around in a purple haze,

 

praying for peace and happiness,

hoping the finish rubs off on me.

 

I’m not afraid of nothing, yet still I fear

children walking by dressed in tears.

 

I’m spending my time making up these rhymes,

homeword bound going round and round.

 

The Quarantine Chronicles 7 😷 Erik Noonan

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the American poet Erik Noonan, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


The Quarantine Chronicles 4 😷 Luciana Erregue

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Argentine curator Luciana Erregue, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


The Quarantine Chronicles 3 😷 Nasser Rabbat

Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Triumph of Death”, 1562

A Daily Feature | سلسلة يومية

This is an extraordinary time, wrote Carol Sansour to, among many others, the Syrian-American architecture scholar Nasser Rabbat, and I would like to document it by means of testimonies from you and others around the world.  I would appreciate it if you could answer those four questions in whichever form you see fit (preferably a short video):

What is the most pressing thought/idea you are having these days;

What are you hopeful for (personally and for the human race);

What scares you;

How are you spending your time (please indicate if you are on lockdown or not)?


1-Two ideas: safety of my loved ones and their future, and will I finish all the writing projects I have/or that I dream of doing.

2-Electing Bernie Sanders, which is unfortunately receding as a possibility more and more to the detriment of the US and the world.

3-Business as usual, the capitalist order withering this crisis, even getting stronger by it and the rest of us paying the heavy price of economic depression and the detritus of the pandemic.

4-Soft lockdown (going out for walks and shopping and visits to the office but no students meeting, classes, or visit, and of course no restaurants/bars/cafes). Writing and reading, but so far only writing what I need to write with looming deadlines and reading students papers. I read only one book since the soft lockdown: Iman Mersal في أثر عنايات الزيات. I liked it a lot and found in it wonderful insights about how we can reconstruct people’s lives in a culture that is not so good at recording and keeping archives, something I struggle with all the time. Soon I will get back to my book on al-Maqrizi, for which I dealt with the same problems. I have to finish it this year.

The I-Ching Told Me about You: Excerpt from “Grey Tropic” by Fernando Sdrigotti and Martin Dean

zouave_du_pont_de_l'alma,_février_1924

Photo Meurisse, 1924. Source: Wikipedia

I bump into Henry just outside Belleville’s Metro. He is already there when I arrive. He has a large blue umbrella with white dots — there’s something written on it but I can’t read it. I find his umbrella funny. He laughs at my transparent umbrella, or about the “Victoria’s Secret” written on it. We don’t shake hands or say anything. He starts walking and I follow him.After more or less two or three blocks under the rain it occurs to me that I don’t know where we’re heading.

“Where are we going?” I shout.

“Neva’s,” he shouts back and I feel that’s all the information I need to know. I mean, I should probably ask who Neva is, but I feel Henry is being cryptic so that I will ask him who Neva is so that he can play mysterious so that he can feel a bit better about himself, somehow more in control, less pathetic, powerless and useless. So I just keep on walking, confident that in due time I’ll find out what’s going on, what this is about, who this Neva is. But more importantly, confident that it won’t really matter, that soon I’ll be boarding the Eurostar back to London.

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