Posts Tagged ‘#COVID19’

love in the time of corona

In Cologne, Home, Stories on June 6, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Gabriel said

The words I am about to express:
They now have their own crowned goddess.(2)

naked soft long wheat germ tone limbs crawling over sun white bed clothes brilliant light earnestly she came over me no trace her radiance left something she must yet be under layers reverberation envisionment I’d failed to recall will have scraped deeply into body marked inside and over to find this former combined cell life replication what instinct brought me to brought her me limpid to my feet creeping on like anaesthesia energised to the centre when I why had let the juice seep out narkotisierend oder belebend beliebig oder geliebt

Hélène said

Give birth to yourself! How I’d love to! No body here for me to live in. If you are outside of the body where the blood flows, where the heart is struggling in the grasp of clutching hands, how do you get back to yourself? And all that was left of me was skin and bones. Fingers clutching at the heart as if they were clutching the breast, the wheel, the arms of your lover. Give birth to me! Pick up the pieces! Stick me together with your glue.(3)

last night awake weak nearly all night bowel cramp exhausted not as bad as spell weeks before spell curse spell words peeled to essence speed translated hurtling hurt to the absence in between when breathing without sleeping cramps stamping a clamp around standing under can’t think around about or in the gaps

rare routine repeat in day moment live no pain the feeding self cleaning regulate breath intensiveness no motion clean with reason re memorise only the moment no ail till next time inhale failn’t baled out pale indoors in rooms surround the old run of saving round the sofa and books read or embleming wood and glass shelves brought over from England ova shrunk should remove bed cover patch worked patches coming apart the quilt chloroquine the TV says will ease the disease don’t have yet will it will away the maybe words the man in the no use uses to excuse his dislocated elocution swirls of dust still from winter under table turquoise green colour from the hairy blanket on the pulled-out couch stained ripped quickly from over-use

plant life company decades dance spot in earth wear behind doors and on the balcony my share air and bird virtue half out of ear distance measure in every bit precious motion water and seed exchange cry corona like killer on insight crone’s disease monotone introspection

detritus film unmoving debasing long before clock down inside dragging dust bag heavy wrist ache alert windows keening their smear abandoned day sleep chimera quietly hallucinating why fear china removing face no death mask nothing beneath but pale skin effacement yet self-love preserve holding me in place like a sandbag masking wonder

Gabriel said

She dreamed that she was seeing Florentino Ariza again, and that he took off the face that she had always seen on him because in fact it was a mask, but his real face was identical to the false one.(4)

misplaced former maker me isolation space long before covid avoid by ill will intimates and culture cliques cast beyond id need light ID others schicksäl(5) displaced caste away me unfit no help no desire social accept distance leaving idio soliloquy strip back narrow lands no ire now nil by mind forgotten wiled life refusing malaise-ism real

effusion balcony comfort flutter wings gesture stroking ear bone sparrow spatz namesake pecking at the dish ceramic clap clap rhythmic breaking up flap jack baked in march raisins and cashew nuts a cached symposium retrieving hard facts steeped in sugar fat oat and maple syrup vibrato warbler pleasure über den tellerrand blicken

behind the curtain curtail the disbelief believe not in the structure you block built for herself or was it given killed for the sake of renewal no traces over the edge prolonged alone time age-old before corona covert when shelves of books and works and pictures moving transported 5 years ages no more gathering parting departed post distance propensity dispose sore concentration lapse where was I heading friends ended time intended no play and away a way that was an active now ineluctably unthink

Russell said

I stil aint qwite said how it wer. Not like a diffrent country. It wer mor like I wer behynt the back clof in a show. Thats how it wer. Thru the clof I cud see the other figgers moving I cud see the peopl watching only no 1 cud see me. If I wer a figger in a show what hand wer moving me then? I cudnt be bothert to think on that right then. Theres all ways some thingwl be moving you if it aint 1 thing its a nother you cant help that.(6)

let the mask of room scenery of one’s own fall self-sealed lone like immurement joint pain relief safe coven inside insidious too old to walk socially near distorted by your distance hazy memory like dirty windows left for dead before time lines taking different roads didn’t believe the covid void on air masked in aerated knows in separate the wall barrier no photo no imagined image hanging about am I an anti a gone a deep night out of nothing comes some where libidinal in the abyss miss coming from know where absence and cramp puke cramp puke and affluent effluence spurting running crap diluvial evaluations excremental utteringly vile bile episode stop breathe breath between wretched retching bile galling gaining breath breathe stupor stupid gone going solace waking in affluence alone one no one mediation inhale to hale no inner life food abyss body abscess excess puking pus swellings in awkward places own the multiple clit cunt effrontery dethroning the crowning sedentary sediments settling sitting in influence shit gold alchemy rise to risk the hospitable shift to shift the fluid ancient danaé aching so solitaire insolence

Hélène said

I wanted to run away. Before, there was a way out. No eyes. No doubt. With hesitation. I had made up my mind. Pretend you were at the door; the door opens, you step forward, you are saved! – that’s obvious – and you can’t go through. What’s stopping you? Isn’t there a door? Haven’t you got legs? Aren’t you awake? Didn’t you make the decision? Exactly. I must get out of that door. It’s a matter of life and death. I lift one foot, put out my arm, only to find that I am beside myself once again. Failed! You are doing it wrong. It’s a question of orientation. I go back. The door is there. You think. You measure yourself. It is not impossible. Physically, and from the human point of view it is necessary.(7)

verfall falle gefallen from the dead raise to an I con seclusion hermetic prisoner of crutch auto immune tedium beyond murals covid liv id fear of fury a free sun day next out door grill smell weltering dead weight under pane no assist what has become of the nonentity beast I suppose crohn not corona? kron und gedächtnis(8) the choler solitude colognial mohn memory poppy burn with propensity to forget congenial grief mildernd the hand that reached to ne me touche pas time in motion feeling words like K and Jesenská entranced when entrenched you send unbended message electronic intellect escaping in the cloud around your site in why land quiet unrequited not quite

Gabriel said

But when he began to wait for the answer to his first letter, his anguish was complicated by diarrhea and green vomit, he became disoriented and suffered from sudden fainting spells, and his mother was terrified because his condition did not resemble the turmoil of love so much as the devastation of cholera.(9)

riteing I am receptive to exchange fluidity e shuttling cocked and return fired a generated parallelism excess collecting beyond the corners of frame sharing delayed enthusiasm firming the con of reconnoitre aligned in unbound electro light liquid sheaves melting captured initials oh and ah body dis mesmerise arise back forth no score pendulum pendeln from wired to land

embroider the front of your lobe function h ear the tiara diadem half crown umbrella of head with sound hieroglyph safe in letter survival not yet lately in vital vials though untouched inviolate moving aleph bet etiquette

etikett für unfehlbare lebensquantität satz ersatz gestreichelt durch unausgeprochenen speichel platz gespeichert für die rundungen der wörter verlesen durch den virus nicht verhaftet an den rand der krankheit noch nicht erkannt

Paul said

Cologne, Am Hof
The dreamt ones stand for
The midnight numeral

Some things spoke in the silence, some things were silent,
Some things went their way
Banished and Lost
were at home

You cathedrals,
You cathedrals unseen,
you waters unlistened to
you clocks deep in us.(10)

dreamed separate by lateness because Franz and the dear one’s hand-written letters only hers in flamed type face twin beds joined at the lip emit words vomit wo mit half heart half dead poppy tears image Inge burning for Paul waiting for eau god they were young you jew oui jah veh word direction embodied dressed in internment sentences weeping letters


light caught

high thin

stream web




jolt in

wind line


no catch


water short

in february

on the bone

dry island


at the


entrance a

same dust







for low



skin at

inner elbow


trap was

silk to

touch now







or miyake

pleats a

lone goal (11)


timed travel since so wrong long unconstructed cycles becoming lines no check progress the being here denial registration dimension meaning uncontrolled when was it no more light-footed music the world breathing a staged clock away writing returning not saying saying keeping alive carrier pigeoning speaking in myth mouthing non-exemplary repeating repetition of soundless echo electric fencing keeping good faith jeux avec frontières

Russell said

Nor I wernt dreaming nor I hadnt ben smoaking I wernt acturely seeing Eusas head it wer jus there for me I cant say plainer nor that. Which it wunt stop getting bigger I cud smel the wood and the paint of it and the finger hoal so big it were over all of us as big as the roof. Such a blackness. Not jus over us and all roun it wer coming up inside me as wel. Not jus wood and paint I smelt the blood and boan the redness in the black. The thot come to me: EUSAS HEAD IS DREAMING US.(12)

take the time wave sweeping generation some tumbled in the bubbling rush on forget shore moved till next wave trippled and left you suspicious objection on shore scene by those still part landed but kindness of neighbour no longer strange assists sit in car from hospitable bringing to move the love thy self her and me the breath light sound the tickling electric harp at your meditative centre and 10 hazel seedlings growing from nutshells from the year before last clay pot balcony tryst each week strong appearing sapling plus what pistachio plant found thrown or sparrow dropped tree today in May a cherry stone like slow knowing of the plush blackbird fledged thick feathers brown speckle puffed resting among green horse chestnut leaves raised in England 30 years ago the open cage drama species disarray

how and ever now then unfolding emerging growths in colonised time association wager risk institution emergency expectation patience for sedierung sedition room kilt time sit in midday moon full seduction close enough to smell sad breath he crossed the demaskation line inpatient grab at half gone breast removing mask to osculate ich bin berührt betrayal kiss you too the dram of grazing voice breath neck tickle uncalled for ache impossible to uncanny react ever the body knowledge reminder even in evolved age a risible bait cologne colon garment for easy abscess preps for semi see the inside growths ripe infirm wrench ulceration information confirmed no commitment sedate sated irresistible for double up pain culpability refrain semi-conscious operators espied half heard conversationing until it’s time to go which home to many-walled stalling to remain strained in reputation and the theatre interval ended

reading write in lap repeat the haze of days interior



  1. love in the time of corona, concrete poem, Tanya Ury, 31.03.2020, play on the book title “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez
  2. Introductory quotation Leandro Díaz, “Love in the Time of Cholera”, Gabriel García Márquez, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman, 1985, Penguin Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-141-18920-8
  3. P. 19, Angst, Hélène Cixous, 1977, translated from French by Jo Levy. John Calder Riverrun Press 1985 ISBN 0 7145 3905 8
  4. P 115, ibid 2
  5. Word play on ‘Schicksal’ German for fate “Schäl Sick (Rhenish for „suspicious/wrong side“), in Cologne rarely written as Schälsick, is still today in the Rhineland a common expression for, from the viewpoint of the other, that is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ side of the Rhine, Wikipedia.org Translation from German Tanya Ury
  6. P. 173, Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban, 1980, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002 ISBN 978 1 4088 3224 0
  7. P. 23, ibid 3
  8. Paul Celan dedicated poems, such as Corona in his volume of poetry Mohn und Gedächtnis (Poppy and Memory) to Ingeborg Bachmann; kron here, meaning crown/corona, being a wordplay on Mohn.
  9. P 71, ibid 2
  10. Köln, Am Hof, Paul Celan poem, 1957. Cologne, Am Hof, in Paul Celan’s letter to Ingeborg Bachmann, 20th October 1957, p.92, Ingeborg Bachmann Paul Celan Correspondence; and see also Celan’s letter of 31 October-1 November 1957 “Is ‘Köln, Am Hof’ not a beautiful poem? Höllerer, whom I recently gave it to print in Akzente (was I allowed to?), called it one of my most beautiful ones. Through you, Ingeborg, through you. Would it ever have happened if you had not spoken of the ‘dreamt ones’? A single word from you-and I can live. And to think that I now have your voice in my ear again!” P 103, Ingeborg Bachmann Paul Celan Correspondence, translated from German by Wieland Hoban, Seagull Books 2010 ISBN 978-0857426420
  11. pleats, poem by Tanya Ury, written in Deià, Mallorca, 4.2.2020
  12. P. 61 Ibid 5


love in the time of corona by Tanya Ury is a contribution by invitation, to Tanja Ostojić’s Misplaced Women? project. This poetic narrative, including poetry – being about isolation, but also feelings of misplacement because of age and illness even before the time of corona – incorporates quotations from Gabriel García Márquez, Hélène Cixous, Russell Hoban and Paul Celan. First published by: Tanja Ostojić at the Misplaced Women? Project blog, June 6, 2020.


Tanya Ury (1951* London) is an artist, activist and author. Since 1993 she has lived in Cologne, which is where many of her family members, including German-Jewish authors, came from. Her video, photographic and performance output deal with Jewish history in general, frequently with a more specific focus on her own Jewish familial provenance. Other themes cover such controversial matters as the Shoah, racism, sexuality and pornography.

1988 BA HONS in Fine Art, Exeter College of Art and Design (GB)

1990 Masters in Fine Art, Distinction, Reading University (GB)

2014-2018 Jury member for the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize, with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin (D)

Tanya Ury’s Homepage


Please see Tanya Ury’s performance contribution to the Misplaced Women? project, Fury, October 3, 2009


Misplaced Self in the Misplaced City

In Homes, Photos, Stories, Wuhan on April 5, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Tan Tan is performance and video artist of younger generation who went to visit her parents in Wuhan early this year and got accidentally under the total lockdown as of January 23, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Before she is going to be hopefully finally released after two-and-half-moths, on April 8, 2020, she gives us an inside into her Diary under Wuhan Lockdown, shares with us six of the predominant feelings she lived those days, and some of the daily photos from the window of her parents home. Panic. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness. Depression. Redemption.                                                                           

(Tanja Ostojić)

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Misplaced Self in the Misplaced City

By Tan Tan

April 2, 2020.

I am in Wuhan, central China, where I was born and raised. This was not a famous city for most of people around the world, as it is one of the second-tier Chinese cities (recently upgraded to ‘the new first-tire’), not like Beijing, Shanghai, which are of the traditional first-tier mage cities. But from the mid-January, Wuhan was globally exposed, accidentally, due to a newly discovered virus that invaded this city, and threatened millions of human lives with mind blowing speed. Right now, this virus, already known as Coronavirus (COVID-19), has become a crazy international pandemic. When I first heard the shocking news of the lockdown of Wuhan, I did not imagine that the whole world can be trapped today. Everyone is living a precarious life despite nationalities, identities, positions, and classes.

Until today, it is still not scientifically proven if Wuhan was the place of origin for the virus, yet due to the broadcasting of the international mass media, many people prefer to believe that. Thus, a ‘misplaced’ accusation has been brought to this city, turned it into a ‘place of the virus.’ As we know, every stereotype, prejudice, racial discrimination among human beings could last for centuries, so I don’t know for how long Wuhan needs to carry this ‘reputation’.

Since the beginning of the lockdown on January 23, every day before midnight, I posted a short diary on the ‘WeChat friends circle’ (a popular mobile-based social networking platform in China) with a photo. The composition is a framed view of each day from the same window at my home. In the picture, the building complex across the lake is Central South Hospital of Wuhan University, which is one of the most prestigious hospitals treating the Coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan. I decided to wrap this daily log on March 28, because from that day on, the people from outside have been permitted to enter Wuhan conditionally. After 66-day-long total lockdown, Wuhan finally has started to open its border gradually, and the lockdown will be totally withdrawn on April 8, according to official announcement. At this moment, I would like to share my personal experience during the hard times, by extracting six principal emotions out of my diary, as a potential reference to some of you who are still struggling with the quarantine.

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Panic. I guess everyone in the world had more or less the same panic when we realised that COVID-19 is much more contagious than SARS, MERS, or any other known infectious disease in human history, and worldwide experts have no idea of the cure for this disease. In other words, it seems that this disease could lead us to the end of the world. But in the first half month of the lockdown in Wuhan, the panic was even tougher, because before the disease spread rapidly to other cities, we were rather alone to face this unknown catastrophe. Approximately, shortly after January 21, my cellphone became a container of the hell, as every hour, some scary news or rumour popped up on its screen, including the hospitals begging for support, the doctors and nurses crying, and the increasing number of patients that had no way to be saved. From January 24 to 31, I spent the worst Chinese New Year I could remember, with panic rising day by day.

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Anxiety. Since the medical supplies such as masks and protective clothing were in a massive lack during the first month, anxiety was a prevailing and dominating mood shared by all the people in Wuhan. As an artist, I felt so useless when confronting this kind of crisis, which was an even worse feeling than panic. Fortunately, an exit from such negative state opened its door for me. From January 26 on, I joined a volunteer’s team Lumo Road Rescue Group to do some online work for donating the supplies to the hospitals. Lumo Road is the landmark of live-houses and hippy culture in Wuhan and this collective was mainly composed of rock fans, artists, musicians, university students, and other night life grassroots. I am one of them in a way. Surprisingly, these party-goers did a very serious and effective teamwork, connecting the donors and the ones in need, and have arranged for thousands of products per day to be sent to the hospitals, one-week-long. Perhaps our biggest advantage is that we are all the type of people that want to skip the bureaucratic (sometimes ridiculous) administration, and directly put the things in hands of those in need. Nevertheless, after one week, I found that my anxiety was not decreasing, but quite in contrary, it was growing. It is because I realised that even if I gave up sleep, I could not fill up the gap between the supply and the demand, as always more and more patients and hospitals cried out for help. Like many other voluntary communities, Lumo Road Rescue Group decided to cease our work after this busy week, because we could not solve this endless anxiety, and several members of the group got infected while delivering the supplies.

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Anger. Anger comes and goes in my diary. I think there are different reasons for being furious in every distinct nation under such epidemic situation. In China, especially in Wuhan, in the beginning, I was so angry about our political system that was always trying to cover the bad news, which caused about ten days delay in dealing with this virus. Li Wenliang, as one of the ‘whistleblowers’ to warn people of the suspicious virus, became internationally acclaimed as a Chinese hero oppressed by the ‘Big Brother,’ and killed by Coronavirus. After being a volunteer, I became even angrier day by day over many inefficient and inhuman measures from certain authorities, like the Chinese Committee of the Red Cross, which controlled the biggest storage of the supplies but was not competent for distributing them timely. This feeling was also provoked by various discrimination present among the people. Some of international media (outside China) insists on the stigma of ‘Wuhan Pneumonia’ although it has got the scientific name (COVID-19) already in January; there are some Westerners who like to shout at Chinese people (or even Asian looking people) on the street as ‘Coronavirus’; inside China, people from Wuhan and Hubei (the province of Wuhan) are discriminated by those from other areas; even in my own building, my neighbours didn’t allow a tenement to live here anymore when he came back in Wuhan from another city, for he might be a threat to bring the virus to this ‘zero infected building’…

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Sadness. Sadness never leaves. Besides Wuhan people, this mood is among people all over the world. Because we all know that in addition to the official data of death, there are much more ‘grey areas’ in the statistics. In Wuhan, except say that there are 2.567 casualties* on the list so far, but we don’t know how many people have left the world before the two new hospitals and the mobile cabin hospitals were built. What’s more, how many people were killed by other diseases in the situation of no access to ordinary treatment in the hospitals? How many people became homeless because of the sudden lockdown? How many people lost their jobs or are facing bankruptcy? Last but not least, how many pets have been abandoned and killed by vicious rumours and cold hearts?

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Depression. All the emotions listed above often drove me into a deep depression during those days. I guess many of you who are reading this text might feel the same. Because we are all vulnerable, useless, uninformed/over-informed, and under a quarantine with an unpredictable end. We are all isolated and ‘misplaced’ in an incredible situation. Personally, I have coincidentally stayed with my parents for more than two months under the same roof, without seeing anyone else. This is rather a big challenge than a happy family reunion to me, as the generational gaps in China are specially huge. My parents and I have opposite life styles, and opposite opinions on values, and politics most of the time. On the other hand, as an artist engaged in performance art and other edge-cutting art forms, I don’t want to shock my parents with my ‘crazy’ behaviours at their home. Thus, I was not able to do many of my artistic actions normally and had to disguise myself as their ‘good girl.’ In this sense, I have lost my integrity, my real world and space, and have been living with a ‘misplaced self.’

From Tan Tan’s online diary: View to the Central South Hospital of Wuhan University from Tan Tan’s home during the total lockdown in Wuhan. Photo / Copyright: Tan Tan, 2020

Redemption. Hopefully, in parallel with all these negative emotions, there is also a force that supports each of us, that is, the rescue and self-rescue. Other than joining the volunteers to serve the hospitals, many people chose to implement immaterial redemption. Artistically, there are countless online exhibitions and live music performances; spiritually, there are various psychological assistance and religious group blessings. I myself have participated in two exhibitions and three publications linked with the epidemic situation. Moreover, I submitted an art project to an institution on the theme of animal protection, because this human crisis makes me feel more the call of rebalancing the energies of the earth, and even the entire universe. In ancient times, humans used to respect all plants and animals, and followed the steps of God and nature. Today, because of ‘capitalism,’ ‘overconsumption,’ and the ‘society of spectacle,’ we become more and more reckless to the natural principles. As an evident result, the world becomes as it was in Revelation of the Bible overnight. At this moment, not only Wuhan and China, this wild animal-derived virus has conquered the anthropocentrism terrain; meanwhile, locust plagues, mountain fires, hurricanes, and floods are also emerging one after another in every corner of the world. Therefore, I think it is time for us to go back to the sources of our world, then reshape the reciprocity between humans and animals and what humans are doing to the earth. This is more fundamental salvation than any vaccine. May it be written on the plan of the redemption from the Universe.

Eventually, after so many traumas, with the strong spirit and contribution by ordinary  Chinese people, and the zigzag endeavours from the position of power (governament), Wuhan has survived this war. There are many more issues that should be addressed in order to tell the whole story of this ‘misplaced’ city, but I could only write down a diary from a personal view. On the April 8, we will be hopefully finally ‘freed’ from the lockdown as announced, but the obstacles for true mobility must still stay, so when will my days of ‘misplaced self’ come to an end? When I look at the world and the universe, I feel as I am still a prisoner, as I don’t know where else I can go and how to board on Noah’s Ark…

At the end, I would like to make a quote from my diary, ‘This troubled world would no longer allow us to wait, we shall start the process of healing.’

Tan Tan: A Diary under Wuhan Lockdown, video, 2020.

Tan Tan is an intermedia artist who currently lives and works in China and Belgium. Her oeuvre covers experimental film/video art, performance/theater, music/sound art, installation, and cyber art.She had several solo exhibitions and took part in numerous art events internationally, such as 60th Berlinale, 2010, International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2011 (IFFR), Images Festival, 2012 (Canada), 43rd Tampere Film Festival, 2013 (Finland),  Venize Biennale, 2015 and 2017, Asian Art Top Show, 2010  (China), 1st ASEAN Biennial, 2013 (China), Wuzhen Theatre Festival, 2016 (China), Creative China Festival at La Mama Experimental theater, 2019 (The USA)

*(Editorial comment) As of april 17, 2020 the offical number of casualties in Wuhan rised for about 50%, from 2.567 to almost 3.900.

This is a contribution by invitation, to Tanja Ostojić’s Misplaced Women? project. Edited and first published by: Tanja Ostojić at the Misplaced Women? Project blog, April 5, 2020.

Please see Tan Tan’s March 8, 2018 performance contribution to the Misplaced Women? project

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