COVID-19In Our Time

Zeynep Beler: Everything That's Dysfunctional with Our Systems and Administrations is Plainly Revealed

Istanbul based contemporary artist Zeynep Beler answered my three questions about the time we are passing through.

How are you affected?

To be honest aside from anxieties about the future (which you already cannot avoid as an artist anyway) I feel like I have it relatively easily. Especially compared to those who are bearing the brunt of this pandemic, such as medical staff and people whose jobs no longer exist. I had to figure out the logistics of transferring my atelier to home, but I've had home-ateliers most of my life anyway. When you're an artist you often get sidetracked by the social aspect of it, especially when you're impressionable (ie. have FOMO) so there goes that distraction, as awful as I feel saying that.

I've been working pretty hard, probably also as a soothing mechanism. That's an approach I've not had towards making art since I was a teenager so I'm interested to see what comes of it. I've also had a couple inquiries into my work from potential buyers, which I wasn't expecting. I think that's probably somewhat because of how much time people are having to spend in their homes now.

What will change in your country or the world?

Being a pessimist, I really can't imagine any outcome other than one in which surveillance is justified more than ever, racism and shifting blame is rampant and more creative ways are found to monetize people's private lives.

Then again it's kind of crazy to make predictions for something there are no statistics for yet. Hopefully some of the new protocols (which are honestly actually not that new) about personal space and public space decorum will stick, especially in my country. The positive is that so many conversations around our industrial and social habits have started that should already have been going on for so long.

How would you hope to change?

I think the most tremendous thing is to be able to observe how the environment is being affected by the disruption of the 9/5 workday, traffic, etc. We would never have the opportunity to observe it empirically if not for this awful crisis. In the same way I hope that we will not fast forget how plainly everything that's dysfunctional with our systems and administrations is being revealed.

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