KoKoMo

Explore stories of spring lockdown through the interactive map below.
By Ava Halloran

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KoKoMo

KoKoMo comes from a distant memory, a far-away place. A little before London went into its first lockdown, the eerie atmosphere in the city’s south-east was already palpable on street corners; the tension in supermarkets was like some sort of apocalyptic version of Christmas preparations. I had just moved into a particularly small living space - I called it the box - when I became ill with the thing. Having more than enough time for abstract thought within my walls, this is when the suggestion of KoKoMo appeared.

Confined, a memory took me wandering back to my home in Arizona. I was walking barefoot on hot arid land with a portable cassette recorder hanging over my shoulder, listening to the 1988 track Kokomo by The Beach Boys. The song’s lyrics evoke a dreamy island off the Florida Keys where two lovers embark on a romantic getaway and escape their worries. Here, Kokomo refers to a fictional place, a utopia, evoking something escapist, dreamy and peaceful. But when tuning into the word’s French phonetics, the combination of Ko and Mo sounds like a ‘brief moment of chaos’. To be K-O’d, is to be knocked out. Little did I know that the song would re-enter my world in March 2020. Britain may be an island, but the song symbolizes the opposite of what I experienced during my confinement, becoming part of a coping mechanism for the isolation.

Back in the box, the persistent sound of the media from news and social networks acted as a connector, but also as an anxiety inducer. What will we hear of tomorrow? My perception of limitations, temporality, and consumerism slowly started to shift. I wondered how others were experiencing the consequences of the pandemic, and in this context, I created the project during spring lockdown, inviting people to participate via an open call.

KoKoMo is an interactive website based on storytelling that aims to gather and connect its participants’ experiences, to show how their conception of space, both at home and further afield, changed during lockdown. Through sound, text and visual mediums, the site collates over twenty-five stories from participants aged between four and 74 living in different countries. From this collection, I made a conceptual collage map that weaves all of the stories together into a collective narration, navigating the in-between of ‘I’ and ‘we’.

The cartography is spherical, contingent, in flux and interconnected. I wanted to evoke open horizons, the transitory state of life, playfulness, and the physical-emotional territories that we experience, transforming and reconstructing our understanding of a memorable moment in time. KoKoMo is an eventful place built on memory, inviting the audience to see beyond, give form to something that’s often barely perceptible and celebrate togetherness.

I would like to warmly thank all the participants for contributing to this project and I’m particularly grateful to Raphaël Halloran for the collaboration on KoKoMo’s web design.

Ava Halloran

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From the Yard in South Bermondsey

Anastasia Freygang
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
www.anastasia-freygang.com

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Kundalini

Tuning into the act of breathing reminds us that every day we're with the Earth.

Ava Halloran
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
www.avahalloran.com

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The Story of My Sound

I have a sound that has constantly been with me for about ten days now, since the beginning of the confinement.

It's like the ultrasound of those little devices designed to supposedly scare away weasels, martens and other small animals. Some unscrupulous mayors seem to have also used them against crowds of teenagers in village squares. Supposedly adults, due to hearing loss, no longer hear this sound. But from past experience, I can hear it very well at the moment.

It is a continuous sound, 24/24 with a slight crackling, very high-pitched, strident sound, a bit like a cat's claws on a window. You get used to it and by the way, these devices don't work against animals and teenagers because after a while everyone gets used to it, really unpleasant.

I don't think it's tinnitus, because I've never had it before and I hardly ever listen to music with headphones. The most intense noise I am regularly confronted with is that of sanders, drills and vacuum cleaners in my restoration workshop. Sometimes, after working for a few hours, I felt that it was hurting my ears. But for some time now I have been protecting myself with ear plugs.

Don't worry about my mental health either, I'm fine! Perhaps you remember a young guy from our previous work, diagnosed with schizophrenia, who described a continuous or crackling sound that obsessed him, made him suffer and unable to cope with his daily life ? I thought of him because I can now understand how he might have felt.

As my darling tells me, I seem perfectly healthy. I wish I had an excuse for my occasional strange and offbeat behaviour, but no, I don't have any excuse. She just told me that it may be part of my process of metamorphosis into a bat!

From then on, I started to wonder about the source of the problem…Perhaps it’s hypersensitivity to electromagnetic waves? Until a few years ago I used to midly laugh at people who said they were hypersensitive to that. Well, now I'm not laughing anymore. Especially when I see that I have at least 25 wifis in my apartment building, plus 3G, 4G, 5G. At the moment I need bandwidth to transmit all the live yoga classes Stream Instagram, the Flashmob on the balconies, on TikTok and the aperitifs on Skype. We read tweets saying that nature is taking back its rights, dolphins visited Venice, the first snail appeared on my aunt's balcony in Paris in 25 years…Do I realize that I'm blowing my brains out by transmitting this to you through my wifi?

In the bedroom I have a device that is supposed to attenuate, or even harmonize electromagnetic waves. Friends recommended it to me when I had trouble sleeping. Since then I sleep better, because I pay attention to all the other parameters such as food, relaxation, meditation, and environmental noise. Our downtown apartment is indeed noisy. Neighbouring children crying, singing, screaming, the cat meowing, the neighbor vacuuming at midnight, my darling snoring, the traffic in the street. Life in a nutshell! But all these noises don't bother me anymore. I can meditate and sleep with them.

But the sound continues...

Like I said, right now I sleep well, six-seven hours a night, no headaches at all. So I don’t have the symptoms commonly described by electro-sensitive people. On the contrary, this confinement seems to do us the greatest good, we eat well and do one hour of fitness every day, we laugh about it, but by taking care of ourselves and listening to ourselves, I think we'll be in better shape afterwards!

But this noise...

I want to go back to the depths of the Sahara. There, no noise, no electro waves. And over there, I heard the famous sound of silence. This phenomenon that occurs when there is no surrounding noise. It's a surprising phenomenon, but not unpleasant. It has nothing to do with the noise I'm feeling right now. The city here is a little quieter than usual, but there is still the habitual noise in the streets.

But this noise...

At times I thought I was going crazy by hearing it all the time. The worst being that when I do relaxation and meditation I become even more aware of it! So I try to live with it, to accept it. Accepting it helps to lessen the discomfort, but not to make it go away. Maybe it's just the sound of my ego or of a certain awareness?

This is the story of my current sound.

Of course, this is only a small detail. All in all, I have nothing to complain about, I'm not in existential danger, my family and my loved ones are fine, no one is in need, nor confronted with important invading fears and anxieties. Like many people in Switzerland, I think we are doing very well, when we think about the fate of the homeless here, the migrants and people living in third world countries. However, I don't feel guilty about being privileged, and I don't feel the need to put myself in danger in order to walk my neighbour's dog.

Maybe this sound is one of time in suspension...the calm in the eye of the hurricane, or rather, the calm before the storm to come.

Michel
Lockdown 2020, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Une Paranthèse

Carole Godat
Lockdown 2020, Aigle, Switzerland

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Untitled

When asked about how my perception of space has changed in these weeks of quarantine, I thought of one of these plastic circuits for marbles. Maybe I even made them up and they never existed, so I made one here. The idea is that I am the marble, and whilst before I had bigger circuits where I could turn in circles infinitely, I now feel confined to the smaller central space – thus I feel like I have, to some extent, been forced to sit still and to go within myself, rather than finding new spaces to run around and loose myself in.

Switzerland has been one of the countries with the highest proportion of COVID-19 patients; yet, aside from Scandinavian countries, it has been the country which has adopted the least strict measures in the continent. Following a politics that is the complete inverse of Italy’s, my own country, the state decided to confide in its population. I witnessed overcrowded parks on sunny days, no one wearing masks in the supermarket… However, contagions still appear to have been reduced and things will start going back to normal from next week. Italy has now entered phase two, and confinement will still be heavier than it ever was or ever will be here in Switzerland.

Despite the relaxed measures, my life and first and foremost my mobility has been completely revolutionised by this situation. I never thought twice about catching overland transport and often even a flight back to Rome on almost a monthly basis, before the borders closed. I had a flight to Rome which I hesitated to take, until all of Italy was declared red zone the day before. I had a work trip planned to South Africa for the month of April, and now even my year of fieldwork next year presents no certainty. My entire agenda was filled only with ideas of itineraries; as was my entire future. At the beginning of confinement, I almost felt my prayers had been answered; I had just returned from a very rushed trip to India to visit my best friend, had spent all of winter travelling through Italy, and was starting to get tired of all this moving around.

Living confinement vicariously through my friends and family in Italy, I felt like my own movements ought to be limited to going outside only for a run or to do a shop with my housemates. My entire life was suddenly reduced to my house, my garden and that circuit that I took for jogging. Every time I ran a little more, and my housemate took me on a different route, I started discovering the city. I felt like being constricted to the city, had actually pushed me to get to know the place where I had already been living for over six months, but where I had actually spent so little time in. However, as the weeks went by, going outside became increasingly less desirable. The more my house started feeling like home, the more my housemates became my family, the more I felt a great sense of insecurity in leaving my place. From being the person who spent least time in the house, I became the one who managed to even not step into the garden sometimes for over 48 hours.

Although I would technically be allowed back into the country, the level of discomfort that I would have to engage with to go back to Italy has completely put me off. I feel exiled from my own country, and cannot help but hope that I will forever remember this feeling of exile which a large part of the world experiences throughout their entire lives. Exiled from places where their families are, exiled from their own home, the feeling of not belonging anywhere, of being where you shouldn’t be, of doing what you shouldn’t be doing. The very subtle presence of the Swiss police, who has told me off several times in this past week for not keeping a safety distance from the people I was sitting with, has made me want to stay in a safe space. Walking up a mountain represents freedom ever more than it did before, and the idea of owning land, a space where I dictate my own rules, is becoming an ever more desirable vision of the future for me and many of those who surround me. I wonder if the discomfort of the city will rise to such an extent that the cosmopolitan dream will give way to the rural utopia.

I know that in my case, the safe and quite space that my house became in these past few months will slowly start being invaded by the invasive sounds of the construction sites and the airplanes setting off from the airport right next to my house, and that my escapism will have to assume much more local dimensions than what it did before.

Chiara Feliciani
Lockdown 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

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Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has been nothing to what I have ever experienced in my lifetime. My life and other people all over the world have had their life turned around, upside down.

At first it was limbo before lockdown, then now there’s some freedom, but you have to remain in your local area. Where people worked or travelled has now stopped. I have been concerned, initially from watching news on TV, listening to media and reading about the possible spread of Covid-19 to Europe, Italy, Spain and the UK

It has caused me a lot of emotions. I think of people who are on the frontline of the NHS fighting to save lives and also for the essential services which have continued to operate: corner shops, supermarkets, post offices, GP, pharmacies, dust bin clearances, buses and tubes. The big worry apart from getting Covid-19, is the financial situation, paying rent, bills and mortgage. Thinking about children and further education at the present time and for the future is important.

It has been very surreal. I do hope a vaccine and the testing will be functional. I am concerned about India, Brazil, Sub Saharan Africa as they do not have the medical equipment, and remember Ebola, there were countless lives lost. I think about vulnerable people with illnesses and conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung cancer, auto-immune illnesses, mental health and other countless health issues. A thought for the homeless, domestic violence, prison people and those caught up abroad trying to get back to their home countries.

It brought back memories of my late mother who has been in an intensive care unit at Whittington Hospital and other times in UCL, Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. I often visited these places and was with my Mam in the hospital. So I have seen the NHS working and the carers who visit at home. It’s a lot for your eyes, mind and heart to take in, even more now with the Covid-19 pandemic.

My travel arrangements to go to Rome in March were cancelled and to Ischia, Italy in May, are postponed. There must be other people like me where they’re unable to see their family or friends.

The world is at limbo.

I thought that Brexit was going to be a shock changer, but this is more terrifying. You have to be calm, patient, cool, hope and pray.

Christine Campbell
Lockdown 2020, London, UK

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The Park

My conscious and unconscious ways of thinking about personal, physical space has been changed.

I’ve been jogging and hiking every day in a huge state park, where I don’t see a lot of people. I look far up the path to see if anyone is coming, then look for places I could go off of the path without disturbing a snake. I’m thinking who will move out of the way first, I don’t mind being the one every time.

During one of my jogs, I came upon a woman, maybe 70, hiking with her daughter, and at 25 feet away, she angrily holds her hand up to me and yells « Stop! », as if I wasn’t going to move when I got closer. She then shakes her head in disgust as she moves off of the trail, her daughter looking embarrassed. My first thought was “Jeez, chill out”, but I immediately realized that this woman is just THAT AFRAID. How awful it must be to belong to a high risk group and have to be hyper aware all the time.

In the grocery store, I take wide turns around the end of the aisle - someone could sneeze right on me - and my elderly father with whom I live, is always on my mind. Everyone has slightly different ideas about what a safe distance is. Am I insulting people by backing away? Is this going to contribute to prejudices and separation of peoples in the future?

My elderly father invited a stranger into our home the other day, a potential painter. After a month of not letting my dad go out, wearing a mask when I go into a store, having clorox wipes in each hand, wiping every inch of every thing I bring into the house, washing my hands, using hand sanitizer, avoiding going near people, I wouldn’t go closer to six feet to my dad in our home and here is a stranger, two feet away from my dad in the kitchen, laughing together… The stranger doesn’t appear to be in a high risk category, but how many other homes has he been in today, is he infected asymptomatically? I rarely get angry and I absolutely never yell at anyone. Well, after stewing for ten minutes, I lost my mind.

I went in there and let them have it. I told the painter that he should not be in the house, that he needed to leave, that they weren’t practicing “social distancing” (did I really say that?) and I used the F-word more than once. My dad waved me away like an annoying child. I got in my car without saying goodbye, and went to my sanctuary, the Park, for a few hours. I could not believe what was happening. My dad didn’t apologize, in fact, he reamed me the next day, for embarrassing him in front of a stranger ! I live in backwards land.

I was driving the other day and pulled up to a car that was stopped at a light. I realized that I left at least a whole car’s distance between me and the car in the front. I am in a car, yet this is already ingrained. How long will it take, when this is all over, to stop thinking this way ?

I do have faith that wonderful days are coming and believe that we’ll learn from this, and come out happier and healthier than before. At the moment people are spending time with their families, caring for people with less means than themselves, air pollution is down and Gaia is healing.

Crissy Halloran
Lockdown 2020, Tucson, Arizona

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OTK / Cheap Squid

D.C.P
Lockdown 2020, Geneva, Switzerland
www.deafdcp.org bandcamp.com/album/foulque-macroule

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Un Coin de Ciel Bleu

Dominique Fleury
Lockdown 2020, Troistorrents, Switzerland
www.domfleury.ch

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À 21h, les Balcons se Répondent…

Frederic Post & Francesca Serra
Lockdown 2020, Geneva, Switzerland
www.fredericpost.net

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Room Fogs

Giulio Dal Lago
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
giuliodallago1.bandcamp.com

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Some Times From Time To Time

Just As
I
Need
To leave
The House
I'm
Overcome
Great
Sadness

Hugit Rubinstein
Lockdown 2020, Tel Aviv, Israel
www.hugitunmanirubinstein.com

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Après, c’est Bon ?

Ilinca Focseneanu
Lockdown 2020, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Tree of Life

James Halloran
Lockdown 2020, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Morning Routine

Jamie Turner
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
www.soundcloud.com/subphonicsdss

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Géométrisation de l’Existence

Le confinement s’est révélé à moi sous la forme d’une série de prises de conscience : celle de l’artificialité de l’espace habité humain, celle des contraintes qu’il exerce sur le corps et l’esprit, celle de l’expulsion et du filtrage d’un monde organique vibrant, fait d’énergies et d’aléatoires, de bosses et de creux, de dangers et de merveilleux, par un espace désespérément lisse.

Le confinement équivaut à un moment de mise en cube de ma vie et à son lissage, un moment où j’ai ressenti la mise en forme de ma subjectivité par l’espace, mais aussi cette tension de ma subjectivité en résistance. Cette image, c’est une tentative maladroite d’exprimer cela. Elle est rectangle, et ce rectangle contient deux rectangles, l’un impose à la lumière, cette énergie libre sans géométrie, la forme de lignes, l’autre semble retenir le vol imprévisible d’oiseaux. Cette contradiction constitue sa force expressive, au-delà de l’imaginaire de l’étouffement, elle offre quelques entrées d’analyse qui m’ont séduit et motivé à la proposer.

Confinement revealed itself to me in the form of a series of realisations: the artificiality of human inhabited space, the constraints it exerts on body and mind, the expulsion and filtering of a vibrant organic world, made of energies and randomness, of bumps and hollows, of danger and wonder, by a desperately smooth space.

This confinement is equivalent to a moment of cubeing my life and smoothing it, a moment when I felt the shaping of my subjectivity by space, but also by the tension of my subjectivity in resistance. This image is a clumsy attempt to express this. It is a rectangle that contains two rectangles, one imposes on the light, this free energy without geometry, the shape of lines, the other seems to hold back the unpredictable flight of birds. This contradiction constitutes its expressive force, beyond the imaginary of suffocation, it offers some entries of analysis that seduced me and motivated me to propose it.'

Juan Pita
Lockdown 2020, Geneva, Switzerland
juancarlospitacastrophotography.com

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Zoom Meeting : I Was Silent

Li Yilei
Lockdown 2020, Shanghai, China
liyilei.bandcamp.com Instagram

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Pina

Lihi Mendel
Lockdown 2020, Rosh-Haa’yin, Israel
Instagram

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Peace, Puppy and Church Bells

As far as I'm concerned, I often went to the beach to surf or to chill. Unfortunately, at the moment it is forbidden to go there, which is a big change for me. To try to compensate and be outdoors, I spend the best of my time on my terrace with my little dog, Ippolito. As soon as the weather is nice, I bring everything I need there -books, computer, drawing material- and stay there all day long.

Marco Von Ritter
Lockdown 2020, Lisbon, Portugal

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Untitled

Matteo Patocchi
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
www.patocchiphotography.com

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Accrétion / Diffraction

Maud Pollien
Lockdown 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

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Enervation

For our physical and mental wellbeing, it is important that we remain active, even though we are contained. We need to find ways of travelling long distances without moving from the spot. I have been practising yoga to mobilise my body and to expand my headspace, even though my physical space is limited. My Dad is very practical and has optimised his time by making things. He built my grandfather a stand, so that he can ride his bike in the garage like an exercise machine, and he built me a wooden step, so that I can practise step aerobics with my mum, keeping us both fit and full of uplifting endorphins.

It is important for our mental health that we get out of the house once a day, otherwise we go a bit stir crazy and can become housebound, as the world outside looms ever larger. Both myself and my brother have been taking advantage of our daily exercise leave to cycle around our local areas. Just this short time outside alleviates the sense of enclosure that prolonged time at home engenders. Physical activity also activates your mind and motivates you so you can get creative with more sedentary activities. Make the most of this uninterrupted reprieve from the daily grind to complete some long-deferred projects.

Neil Milton
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
www.neilmilton.com

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Kelly

Niki
Lockdown 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

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the fly

A month might have passed since the beginning of isolation. I have a hard time wrapping my head around things as time slowly dissolves into endless sun-moon cycles. Days are becoming strikingly similar, and my grip on them gently loosens. Each morning, I dive deeper in time’s quest for inertia while I repeat the same routine again and again. I have learned from my feline friend how to cherish the fleeting moments when the sun’s beams hit a corner of my room. I sit there with empty thoughts as the burning body pursues its daily curve. It’s blooming season again, and flies, wasps, and other insects wake up from their winter slumber. I now pay much more attention to the ones visiting my flat. I do not recall an instance where I have felt this close to a fly - both trapped inside, pressing ourselves against the transparent glass, craving for fresh air and space to roam. Forced into this finite territory, we both have to reinvent and rethink our existence far from old narratives. I do not wish to end up flying in haphazard cubic forms - changing course in the face of imaginary corners - nor exhaust myself trying to break through the stainless apertures. Thus, I channel my thoughts and energy into mind topographies where I can wander freely and meet old ideas and desires - like I would meet old friends - that have been lingering for a while. And so, in this unfathomable time, I dive in forgotten projects while being guided by the endless buzzing of flies.

Pablo Diserens
Lockdown 2020, Berlin, Germany.
pablodiserens.studio

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The Room Sounds What You Are

Tarik Haskic
Lockdown 2020, London, UK
pinealisglandula.bandcamp.com

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With Her

Tasneem Lohani
Lockdown 2020, Chennai, India
Instagram

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Les Marmites

Alors que le monde dans sa globalité se confine et se rétracte, ses petits recoins, innombrables et jusqu’ici comptés pour rien, s’ouvrent et se dilatent.

Il y a plus d’espaces que ce qu’on croit.

While the world as a whole is being confined and retracted, its countless little corners, and those that hitherto counted for nothing, are opening and expanding.

There are more spaces than we think.

Vladimir Skrivan
Lockdown 2020, Les Marmites, aux Clées, Switzerland