The exhibition Anthropause1 attempts to showcase aspects and experiences from the local version of a unique phenomenon globally -at least in recent years: the one of the covid-19 pandemic that endangered the good of health at large scale and froze almost every human activity, through a lockdown that its consequences left behind an extremely painful financial, social as well as psychological imprint. Plenty of vital questions seem to emerge: how does a society experience an absolute hygienic isolation? How can one illustrate the symbiosis with an invisible danger and the solitude of confinement? How do relationships transform in a condition of social distancing? How is the relationship between the personal and the collective, the private and the public, being mutated?
In that framework, MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography has addressed an open call to the community of photographers and to the public, in an effort to trace the spirit of the times, the heavy shadow of a threat and the internal shifts it causes. The exhibition includes works by artists, photojournalists, amateurs, citizens that sought in the camera the tool for describing the visible and the unutterable. The multi-layered material presented in the exhibition, enriched with many more photographs, is also uploaded to the digital platform http://res.momus.gr acting as an open access archive for this unique condition, the spring of corona-virus. It could be even thought of as the collective, fragmented diary of an era in which, along with the persistent calls for social distancing, the need emerges for people to stay together as much as perhaps never before.
This mosaic of images attempts to articulate things obvious as well as unknown, to bring out locked emotions and invisible aspects, to come to terms with the ultimate paradox lingering in the atmosphere, the cancellation of what was considered a given, to propose the mask not only as part of a strict policy of hygienic defense but as a process of internal metamorphosis or reaction. The photographs originate from various parts of Greece and they are presented in groups indicated by the very material: some draw their force from being literal depicting evacuated public spaces, a deserted Easter Day, the exposed and the vulnerable, the city streets as a devastated scenery. Other groups rely on metaphor, modifying artistically and spiritually the condition of confinement and the forced stasis. And maybe it is this zigzagged trajectory and the unavoidable transition from the raw literalness to the implicit metaphor, groping distinctly the extended uncertainty, the unsolved questions surfacing as the “omniscient” man faces the primordial unknown.
1 The term anthropause was invented during the pandemic by the scientific community in order to describe the phenomenon of almost complete pause in the human activity and the beneficial impact that this had on the planet’s ecosystems.