Artist Statement

The temporary lockdown in South Africa was set to last 21 days, commencing on 26 March 2020. The initial time frame was extended, limiting social interactions for a prolonged period. Being in isolation morphed my sense of linear time; it seemed to go by so slowly yet so fast, with no events to create differences between time intervals.

>21 Days: A Lockdown Experience (2022) is an embodied video performance with two digital interactive augmented reality (AR) works. These works reference the pervasive feeling of being under surveillance – the permanent gaze – from everyone: the neighbours, law enforcers, surveillance cameras, digital devices, and even oneself through self-regulation.

The video performance is edited using visually disruptive techniques as indicators of the passing and disjointed time. The futility of the daily routine and repetitive actions and thoughts are referenced through the slowing down and speeding up of movements, with elements disappearing, repeating, ghosting, and reversing, by rewinding and overlapping the footage. This absurd existence resonates with the myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was condemned to roll a rock up a mountain for an eternity; as soon as it reached the top, it would roll back down.

I draw in the gaze of the viewer with two interactive AR digital photographs, >21 Days, Going Nowhere (2022) and >21 Days, Day In and Day Out (2022). The photographs invite the audience to participate in the surveillance narrative by downloading the Artivive application onto their mobile devices and by pointing their cameras at the AR interactive photographs. The >21 Days, Going Nowhere (2022) AR photograph plays a video animation of myself walking on the spot, and >21 Days, Day In and Day Out (2022) references the shifting light at different times of the day through a stop motion animation. Both the video and AR works are looped, echoing the Sisyphean notion of never-ending futility during the experience of lockdown.

Angie Lázaro