An abstract illustration of chaos theory

Pandemonium: Creative Responses to Lockdown

Confronted by the restrictions of lockdown due to COVID-19, the fearless students of the Class of 2020 quickly tackled the challenge of making work digitally and outside our studios, creating dance films, artistic exchanges, Zoom dramas, and more. They shared these works in public showings held via Zoom in May 2020. This post compiles some of the projects and pieces they created during these harrowing times.

How do we experience bodies, spaces, and distances in the middle of a global pandemic? This surreal dance film goes looking for answers in empty parking lots, personal protective equipment, handstands, and more.

Katie Butler - Artful Exchange Project
The Artful Exchange Project began as an exploration in the concept of ‘the audience of one.’ This project was borne out of a combination of the necessity for social distancing and the craving for intimacy and connection amidst a global pandemic. Exchangees chose the locations and mediums of the work. The results were completely unique and personal performance art explorations, crafted individually for singular experiences.

Sohrab Haghverdi - The Boy Who Mailed Himself to America
The Boy Who Mailed Himself to America is based on Sohrab Haghverdi’s real life, with an addition of his poetic imagination inspired by his study of clown.

Bellisant Corcoran-Mathe - Rebecca and The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bellisant Corcoran-Mathe recreated scenes from classic and contemporary films while staying at home under lockdown: "When quarantine has got you down and films are your only company, things get a bit weird! With no filmmaking experience, a crew/cast of one, and a lack-luster camera phone, I recreated, shot-for-shot, one scene from the Hitchcock classic, Rebecca, and another from Wes Anderson's zany romp, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I built a train car in my living room, designed sets and costumes in black and white, wrestled 'fascist' cushions, and mastered my Ralph Fiennes impression, all for the sake of solving impossible problems in these impossible times."

Nate Rothermel - DIONYSIA
Nate Rothermel and several other members of the Class of 2020 are creating DIONYSIA, an improvised web series shot entirely on Zoom. Watch the first episode, which has been selected for inclusion in the Lift-Off Global Network First-Time Filmmaker Sessions 2020 Festival.

Fred Fletcher-Jackson - Operational Exhaustion
Responding to the pressures of creating amidst the pandemic, Fred Fletcher-Jackson filmed Operational Exhaustion. Explaining the impetus behind the piece, he writes, “Making art in the midst of a debilitating pandemic has seemed like an impossible task. Like many people I've felt defeated, crushed, hopeless, unmotivated, and very, very tired. I've wanted to do, literally, absolutely nothing. So I made a video project about doing absolutely nothing. Specifically, I was investigating what it means to do nothing in the face of these feelings in times of crisis. To resist the urge to distract yourself with hobbies, media, or our neurotic capitalist obsession with productivity. To just be, to exist, and feel how you're feeling.”

Gabey Walburn - We Are; But I Am
Gabey Walburn solicited and combined responses from a number of artists and friends to create this piece. She writes, “In a time where we are defined by what’s happening around us, how do we make space for individuals? I asked for video responses to eight questions, as well as artists’ responses to a prompt which culminated in this: ‘we are; but I am.’” 

Anna Basile - Empty Spaces
Anna Basile took her clown exploring in Empty Spaces. She writes,  “When we were sent home for a semester of remote learning, we had just started our exploration of clown. It was a wistful and joyful experience to discover my clown so far from the now-empty studio and my classmates. And so I chose to unleash this curious, mischievous creature on my final project. Wittle Stick, (that's her name), was very concerned for the spaces left empty during quarantine, and so she set out to visit one and poke around…”