In this series we asked artists and photographers to share photo diaries of life in quarantine.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
“I’m lucky to be spending the quarantine at home in Makati with my mum and my two cats, Samantha and Harry. I’ve adjusted my work hours to be more productive, and begin my day at night because of the hot weather. My evenings until dawn are for news and art, interspersed with coffee. Watching the news on the ECQ, when it is to be lifted, and anything related to the virus. Then I start with work: drawing for an unfinished series, researching concepts and techniques on clothes, collaborating with friends and fellow artists for music and video work.
“Like everyone else, the global pandemic has affected my work greatly. It is a negative impact in a big way, from projects, commissioned works, shows and exhibitions, events, to even schoolwork. Everything is moved, postponed, or just cancelled. Things are plainly uncertain. A major difficulty during this time is this constant thinking, and the conscious effort to choose not to think, or instead be distracted. Since there is no leaving the house unless it’s essential, I started questioning almost everything, from basic necessities, will food supplies be enough, how many times do I go outside before I get infected, until when will our savings carry us through, would there be enough work-from-home projects that can sustain this new normal, up to political issues like how safe are we from our police and armed forces, and what other abuses that can happen.
“Even though a lot of things are up in the air, it’s heart-warming to see that several fellow artists and collectives have launched online shows to raise funds and do our part in these difficult times.
I’m curious and excited to see how art is transforming. How is art viewed, experienced, produced, and performed in limited space, in our homes and devices?
“This lockdown means we need to deal with a new environment. Adjusting to this new environment, new habits and new processes will be formed. Being outside your comfort zone, literally inside your comfort zone. I’m curious and excited to see how art is transforming. How is art viewed, experienced, produced, and performed in limited space, in our homes and devices? How is art discussed and perceived in this time? What is the responsibility of an artist in this time? Now internet art is being explored. What is Internet art? Is it a platform or a medium?
“I think it’s progressive to see that artists and collectives are exploring this. For example, using games like Minecraft and Counterstrike as platforms and mediums to produce and view art. During this pandemic, artists are realizing more and more the value of social interaction in the art process. Given that we are confined within our homes, restrained–because of this situation, it would make sense to create, or push for interactive art to compensate for the lack of social interactions.
“After the quarantine is lifted, I’ll visit my grandmother, eat outside with my mum, catch up with my family in Laguna, see my friends and dance with them, and then complete and finalize everything and anything work related. I hope that everyone can adjust properly to the new normal and help everyone who cannot. Knowing that work-from-home arrangements are doable, I hope employers explore this option permanently to ease our traffic situation.” —Mio Aseremo as told to Jed Gregorio
Mio Aseremo is an emerging artist and a student based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Driven by his interest in the interactive approach, his works range from painting and drawing, and increasingly exploring video, installation, and photography.
See more of his work on Instagram, and in ongoing shows that aim to raise funds for artists and people that are affected by the pandemic: