It’s fascinating that the very things that I focused on in “One Square Mile” assignment (https://archnasingh.blog/category/assignments/assignment-1/) attempted at the foundation level, looked outwards towards the destruction of the climate, nature and the world as we know it, single-handedly by humans; the same assignment under today’s given circumstances and the lockdown situation forced me to turn inwards.
Being quite a non-social person and closely associated to nature, the lockdown as such did not change much for me as I am always and as much in the forests as I possibly can, close to nature and animals and when I have to be in the city, I am usually home-bound, working on the immense data that I have accumulated over the years. This lockdown changed one thing for me – which is that I could no longer travel to the forests and I personally do not like being in the city. It also changed the fact that I had to now re-look at my initial idea of the “One Square Mile” that I was looking forward to create. (https://archnasinghexpressions.com/2020/04/12/learning-log-lockdown-reflections-about-the-first-assignment/)
These were my initial ideas:
- My kids and our daily routine as a subject
- Recreating from old pictures of my daughter when she was a baby and now that she is 20 years old
- The view from the balcony
- Documenting birds from my balcony
The first two ideas fizzled out as all am seeing these days over social media and Instagram is pictures of kids and parents, and it no longer excites me as much as it initially did. Also, another reason for the idea was trashed was triggered by the fact that dealing with 20 year old kids is way tougher than dealing with infants and toddlers, with their own mood swings and no time for the assignment leaving me flustered and at the end of my patience.
I did take pictures from my balcony but with no human movement, the pictures just appeared dead to me. If they don’t excite me as an artist how would they excite my audience?
The one thing that did not fizzle out from the time I force-returned from my jungle trip was the constant need to be near nature. Physically, I develop pain in my body as soon as I hit the city – a fact that has been observed by my doctor as well and one that is scientifically proven also. My doctor sent me this as an answer to give to everyone when they ask me why jungles all the time? – (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/04/the-original-natural-remedy-for-burnout-nature.html?mid=twitter_scienceofus). Over the years I have turned towards nature and being surrounded by animals as a solace. The lockdown changed that for me. Since I couldn’t go out, I started to spend a lot of time in my balcony observing birds. Although I did that earlier as well, but this time it was turning into a research project, where the lockdown actually provided a lot of answers to so many questions. More on it later but most importantly, it made me look inwards and made me appreciate things that went unnoticed before.
Keith Arnatt was fascinated with works of art that are created in the natural landscape but leave no trace of their presence, inspiring his famous series “Self-burial.” Reading this was like a sign from God. This statement struck a cord with me since birds follow the same rule. They quietly make their nests within their environment leaving no impact on the landscape as we humans do.
For me, the greatest learning that the lockdown should have on everyone is that they should look inwards – on the impact they have on their immediate surroundings- a lesson that Mother Nature is trying to teach us, but is it a lesson we are ready to learn from? Only time will tell. For me, I am grateful that it has given me an opportunity to even appreciate her more than I did and the fact that it has given me some wonderful opportunities to look at life with fresh new eyes and learn more about it from the confines of my home. It has left me humbled.