Katerina Matijevic, 25
I live in the north of Italy and I’m in the midst of my dissertation preparation, which means I’ve been self-isolating for a little longer than people in most other countries.
The information of an imminent lockdown leaked on a Saturday evening while I was having dinner with a group of friends. In a matter of minutes, we went from chatting and eating pizza together, to calling our respective families or consulates to find out what to do next. Less than an hour later, I was on a train with one suitcase and my laptop, headed to my parents’ home.
This abrupt relocation marked a hard and sudden switch in my day-to-day life: after living by myself for the first time and learning to adapt to no other company but my own, I was slapped back into my family home, a house that I excitedly left over 6 years ago.
My experience of the concept of ‘personal’ is changing. What used to be ‘individual’ has now become ‘shared’. Shared in a way that feels oddly familiar but obsolete at the same time. Privacy feels like a tie knotted too tightly.
Even my most sensitive realm of perception, hearing, is encountering old, new difficulties. I enjoy spending time in quiet places, and use pleasant music to accompany my chores or to quiet down thoughts when they become too loud. Now, I hear very present voices calling me, ordering me to do certain things and telling me how to do them. They give rhythm to sunlight hours, sometimes in more aggresive ways, other times more gently, depending on their mood.
The combination of these uncomfortable circumstances has led me to withdraw into my mental space. My imagination quickly became more vivid and expanded vastly. In it, anything can happen. I jump around and cartwheel between places I know and places that don’t exist. I spend time with people I miss and people I would like to meet. I am now the scenographer of serendipity, love affairs and future impossibilities.
The highly technological world in which we’re soaked, ‘only designed in order to work less and eat more’*, is living unpredictable turns of events. Imagining and articulating alternative organisational ways has been unattainable up until they suddenly emerged in the lives of many in a matter of days. I wish to everyone whose time has seen a reduction of pace to reflect on what can be changed in order to gain a new form of wellbeing, whether it’s something whithin oneself or an outside improvement. I believe that we’ve been given a unique opportunity that we should all collectively seize.
*Tarkovsky, A. (1979). Stalker
Thank you for your attention.