Locked In

A new adventure happened in my life in 2019. I moved to China in hopes of solving my financial problems, meeting a lot of interesting people, and learning about a new culture. Instead, I found myself lonely in a city called Zhengzhou, which has a population of nearly 10 million people. Mandarin was too difficult to learn, I did not make new friends, and I experienced a strong cultural shock. And then, the coronavirus outbreak began in China.

The city was closed for the quarantine. At first, the authorities restricted public transport and people were told not to go out unless it was a necessity. The medical masks were sold out very quickly and the streets were empty. Meanwhile, the photographs of the people wearing household items as medical masks started circulating on the Internet.

I was self-isolated in my uncomfortable Chinese apartment. I felt confused about the strange rumors of virus origin that people shared online. Sometimes, I went for the walks and I saw the streets, which looked more like the screenshots from the post-apocalyptic movies.

I wanted to reduce the degree of my anxiety by shooting self-portraits. I reproduced the images from the Internet but made them more absurd. The desire to protect myself, not from the virus, but a feeling of growing panic guided me. By using weirdly designed objects, I could be aware of the artificial nature of my fear and get rid of it.

Zhengzhou, China