Concept Text: The Great Confinement

For this 3rd studio project on Confinement, I’ve decided to express my personal experience of the Covid-19 lockdown. I am currently in Madrid, Spain, where the quarantine restrictions are the strictest globally. I can only go outside alone for necessities such as the supermarket (over 40 euros only) and the pharmacy. The police is always circulating and will stop anyone they deem fit. As I was doing research and exploring the archives of old children correction facilities, prisons, hospitals for the criminally insane, all I could think about is the mental toll it must’ve had. I don’t think any human deserves or is capable of enduring such atrocious living conditions. I can’t compare that level to what I’m living now, but I definitely feel that I am enduring what I could call an “introduction” to psychological effects of confinement. Seeing day after the day the exact same environment, watching the outside world from a window, being forced alone with my thoughts 24/7, having nothing to think about because of the lack of interaction with nature, people and things, not having any sources of pleasure except for my daily meals, hearing the same national anthem over and over (and it’s not even mine), basically feeling stuck in an endless loop with the same exact elements, all by myself. It’s so absurd, abrupt and unexpected it almost doesn’t feel real.

I can relate this to what is called “the schizophrenic experience”, where the inner and outer world merge and reality and fantasy can’t be distinguished anymore. I also got inspired by the drawings that mental patients did and how Art evoking raw emotions, personal interpretations and expressions of their realities, have helped them cope.

Falling into the category of Art Brut and self-taught Art, I want to create a journal and use it as a tool to narrate my confinement experience using drawings. Not only am I not good at drawing, but I’ve been confined for more than a month now and there is still no end date set for Spain, so it’s safe to say that I am deep into the confinement and have more than felt the psychological effects. Finally, as I’ve already started drawing I’ve noticed that they’re all related to the lockdown, the pandemic and all the ethical, political, environmental and economical affects. I’ve also been faced to deal with my ambivalent and versatile personality, past and childhood traumas, identity crises and unstable emotions. The few drawings I’ve already made have helped me take weight off my shoulders and words out of my head.

The journal is read from right to left, because I wanted it fo feel unnatural and as if something’s off. My title page, where it’s written “The Great Confinement”, is gone over everyday. The composition and subjects are unplanned. I just sit down, pick up my pen and start drawing; giving control to my impulsive self and making decisions based on my subconscious and emotions, without any logical or worked concept. Finally, I’ve decided to draw in a pink pen because not only do we not have any pencils or drawing material at home, but I thought pink could be an ironic take on narrating the hard times I’m going through. Pink is considered a “girly” and happy color, vibrant and cheeky, and using that element to express complex and darker emotions is a statement in itself. It reminds me of how we are all trying to keep our cool and put together, with our family , on our socials, and even with ourselves, but on the inside we’re struggling to make sense or rationalize any of this.

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