Compression educes what Ben Anderson terms ‘the affective atmosphere’ of life in times of crisis. It responds firstly to the black summer with which the year 2020 began, the subsequent health and economic crisis, and the fissures they have riven in our collective mood. This year has brought the realisation that the slow unravelling of our ecology has gained irreversible momentum. At the same time, the pandemic has compelled us to face with sober senses the fragility of our once taken for granted ways of living. After a year of grief and fear, this artwork asks its audience to take time to pause. To listen and hold close our ardent longing for the futures we once possessed but that dissolved into smoke, and to find the fortitude to care for each other through the uncertain future.
Image: Hannah Quinlivan, Detail from Shroud 2, 2020, acrylic and aluminium annealed wire, dimesions variable. Courtesy of the artist.