In this time of global crisis, staying safe at home and staying sane is a balancing act of sorts; in protecting our physical health, we may be compromising our emotional and mental wellbeing as a result of this collective solitary, monotonous and restricted existence.
Many of us have, in some warped way, been given the gift of time – something that we have undoubtedly desired at some point in our lives – but now we have it, do we want it? With this additional time comes a vast emptiness; a void in our lives that must be filled. But filled with what? As our emotions have been rising our outlets have been falling, leaving us unsure of how to appropriately express our growing feelings of uncertainty, angst, fear, lethargy, and tedium.
Badlands 777 presents a collection of self-portraits and journal excerpts to mark this unprecedented period of time. An outlet through which personal experiences are shared and the uniqueness of those experiences can potentially be felt by others.
The days have blurred together into a long, strange dream. We’re all stuck inside something. Some days our homes. Some days our minds. Waiting for the luxury to love each other up close again. Lately I am excited by things easily passed by – a little corner I’ve never sat in before where I can write lyrics … pieces of fabric for forgotten projects are now draped over curtain rods in my studio as the stage in my imaginary club I perform at every night. Lit by star machines n flamingo lights … the shows are wild. My living room is my disco. I’m dog-ear-ing the unchartered pages of my cookbook, spending hours cuddling my baby girl – Billie (puppy) though she is never satisfied. My favourite look is my birthday suit, maybe a little jewellery, I’ve been beading bracelets for all of my friends, so I have something to give them when this is all over. Constantly reaching out to my loved ones on the phone, this shows me every day is a little different and that everyone is having their own experience. Some days to avoid following my fear into the dark … I try to remind myself that there is a beautiful, and hopefully compassionate plan. Whether I can see it or not the suffering I see breaks my heart but all I can think to do is send my hardest love out into the world and do my part. To let myself be inspired and try to inspire. Through every period of suffering there has always been art to take us away … and there will always be art. I have never loved the world so much as I do right now. I am so excited to see you again.
Quarantine has been a time of exploration for me. Being able to bring my art home even more than before. In these moments of isolation I’ve decided to keep faith & know that what I don’t know might not always be “bad”.
My heart goes out to all suffering during this time. To the LGBTQ community that might not have safe space at the moment. To those who don’t have food, shelter & many other resources.
I hope this can be a time of pause for us all that brings together humanity. Not one that continues to separate us through xenophobia, anthropophobia, and mysophobia.
I don’t know the future but I do know that right now we can help each other by reaching out with love, communicating to each other so this lonely isolation doesn’t feel so insane.
Sending love & blessings.
Every day is its own beast. Some days are sweet as honey right from the start, and others I can’t seem to do a damn thing. I’ve come to love them both in their own ways. My day to day emotions can almost always be calmed with art as my outlet. I’ve taken this downtime to get back to a more experimental side of shooting, collaging, and creating in general. In the end of the day, I’m simply grateful to have these hobbies that keep my hands busy and my brain afloat.
This is not how I would have imagined my experience of a global crisis. In a lot of ways everything feels normal, I’m at home surrounded by everything that makes me feel safe. When the best thing you can do is chill at home, it’s hard to not feel guilt for what seems like such passive aid. My apartment kind of feels like a waiting room, like it’s going to be my turn to suffer soon, so I think like lots of people my perspective of what matters is really changing. Connecting through a phone suddenly feels valuable, what richness is in general is pushed more to the front of my mind, to the point that I feel a lot of clarity amongst huuuuuuuuuge uncertainty.
I’ve been living in LA for the past 6 months and I had just quit my job 2 weeks before Trump announced the US was to go into lockdowns, so a lot was changing pretty fast and going back home wasn’t what I had planned (I was supposed to move to NYC!). My good friend Yuki had been warning me this was going to happen and pushed me to go back home and I’m so glad I decided to. I’ve been home a month and a half and I’m really appreciating the time I have now to not work and understand that being able to remain calm and secure in a time like this is a massive privilege. Instead of lazing around and complaining (which I did the first two weeks) I started re-watching movies from old Asian cinema and getting inspired to do self portraits based on a character in the movie. I found this quite a challenge but also therapeutic in a way, my days are spent choosing a character or creating one, putting together an outfit, doing my hair and makeup and finding a location to shoot. I’ve been able to keep creating work and practising editing/post skills which has been really beneficial for me. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again but I’m also anxious about how I will survive financially once living independently again.
Quarantine. I am still surprised that it is the word that defines our present days. Being banned from leaving the house removes us from the chaos outside. It is a very intense mix of sensations. On one hand, I am free from the clock and time is rendered useless and I am happy to be able to do lots of things that I normally never have the time for but then, this feeling collides with the strangeness of the confinement and the longing to see my dearest friends. I also miss wild nature, but I’m lucky enough to be in a place where I am able to hear the birds sing and not the sirens of the city down below.
It’s been a really hard time since I’m 100% freelance and all my jobs have been canceled. During this time I’ve tried to keep positive and create in my room. It’s been ups and downs like everyone. I started rewinding my creative process, in which I found the first camera I ever received as a teen. Been thinking how I made images out of nothing in my room and that’s honestly made me the happiest at the moment, creating images.
More than six weeks have passed since I started isolating. Honestly, I thought I would feel a lot worse by now but I don’t really feel any different. I miss my family and my friends, and the lack of financial stability is overwhelmingly disconcerting, but I realise that if these are the biggest of my worries right now then I’m still doing alright. I am safe and trying to stay in touch with those I love. As a freelancer and someone who avoids being around too many people a lot of the time, this feels like a normal week for me – just with no work on, and not being able to mope around in supermarkets like I used to (which is probably a good thing). Trying not to be too hard on myself or force myself to create things too, the pressure of productivity is usually not helpful at all. Just hoping that on the other side of this I still have all my family, my friends and my sanity.
In the meantime, not only the unwritten is between us. Now it is oceans, miles and thousands of air kisses. In pajamas I stand in my garden where everything can grow. Even emotions that like to travel from the belly to my throat – I no longer swallow anything. You were right, you shouldn’t think too much about what you want to write you should just finally say it.
Sarah Faint Breath is a growth from waste. We first conceived the song as a live recording project that would be made at an upcoming PHILTH HAUS album launch. When this event was inevitably cancelled due to COVID-19, and as we faced isolation, the song had to take a new form. We wanted a catharsis. We wanted a way to mourn what was yet to be lost. In many ways, this song is a release from collective pain. We were thinking of ways to make the song universal, a-national, a-lingual. Everyone cries. So we made the song cry.
Badlands 777 would like to thank the creative individuals who took the time and effort to contribute to this project.
We would also like to publicly extend our gratitude to and respect for the key workers who are continuing to risk their health on a daily basis to keep the world functioning as best as possible during this crisis, particularly the frontline workers, who are genuinely putting their lives on the line in order to save the lives of others. We find it deeply disturbing that it has taken a pandemic for many to recognise the remarkable value of these courageous and selfless people; however, we are hopeful that, as a result, the future will bring far greater recognition and respect for the incredible work that they do.