by Ronit Levin Delgado
The bizarre uncertainty of the current pandemic can indeed drive us all a bit crazy, and I’ve seen some hilarious memes as good examples (which I live for!). Instead of succumbing to the craziness we might be experiencing, we can embrace the current state, just like the surrealist artists who were in control of their uncontrolled mindset to produce art.
This quarantine isolation period has, in a way, transformed us all into artists-in-residence, who are doing a durational performance that examines the notion of time. Our homes have transformed into galleries, offices, bars, and cultural venues. My home has become an interactive, interchangeable installation of an art/dance studio, classroom, restaurant, and an exclusive lounge. I view this surreal quarantine as an opportunity to use our imaginations and to let our creativity thrive, realizing our own fantasies in our surroundings and finding solutions for what we are missing, either personally or in our global community.
Social distancing has forced us to connect through virtual means. It’s important to remember that this is only physical distancing, not social, and definitely not emotional ! ZOOM and other technologies have thankfully bridged the gap between emotional and physical distancing. It’s amazing to see how everyone has become more connected with their family, friends and acquaintances, interacting in the virtual space despite limitations based on proximity. In a single day I can talk with my family in Israel and Paraguay, check in with friends in Europe, Australia and Asia. It is heartwarming to see how communities grow and we want to help each other from other communities as well, regardless of religion, nationality, occupation. We are all in this together!
One way I am addressing the needs of my community and connecting with others outside of the virtual space, is by volunteering. I recently joined my neighborhood’s United Mutual Aid volunteer network of neighbors. The organization’s mission is to come together in a spirit of solidarity to meet the communities’ basic survival needs and working collaboratively to create systems of mutual support and to empower each other.
In this time of crisis, taking action and addressing the needs of our communities is a powerful transformational moment. Being involved in the community reminds us how deeply interconnected we are at a global level and through imagination, we can imagine the rebirth of the new world we want to move into. We can all use this time as an opportunity to cultivate our imagination and creativity to create a collective action plan on our planet earth.
The increased virtual connections inspired me to think about whether we can create digital intimacy in times of physical distancing. Physical distancing contact is something I plan to implement in my future performance practice. Humans still have the innate need for human connection and not solely on a virtual level. Therefore I am looking forward to examining these tangible performances in our new universal condition we are living in, a post pandemic world, and allow people the chance to feel not alone, connected by engaging and sharing experiences. As a performance artist who likes to incorporate interaction elements, explores human interactions and not only through the “black mirror”, which presents a new challenge to convey my practice.
This pandemic has given us a gift of time — time to create and be creative with our time. Few of my 2020 projects got canceled because of COVID-19- Cosmic Love Beehive by Creatrix Collab won funding support and was selected as one of the five chosen projects for Burning Man Project, I was selected to create an installation-performance at Chashama’s 25th Anniversary Gala and I was supposed to have a solo multimedia show at Domestic Museology in New York, which was postponed. Despite my disappointment, I found it as an opportunity to reevaluate and restructure the work as it gave me the time and fresh perspective.
Fortunately, this pandemic also brought new opportunities. I am excited about my new upcoming (virtual) performances in the spirit of healing and connecting. Dance is an important part of my performance practice as movement nurtures liveliness, uplifts the spirit and brings people together.
On May 23rd I will perform at Cult23 Prom Masquerade a collaborative performance with dancer Maija Rutkovska.
On June 5th I will perform a dance performance collaboration with artists Maija Rutkovska and Jana Astanov at 7MPR Themed Dance Theater– The First Midnight Virtual Performance.
I am also excited about this upcoming project I am happy to take part of, as the art advisor for Shalom/Salaam Art Series that Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee is lunching. Artists are welcome to submit written and visual imagery that transcends boundaries, brings people together, and inspires faith in humanity. Artists are welcome to submit their application here.
Ronit Levin Delgado (born Tel Aviv, Israel), is a multidisciplinary visual artist and Fulbright scholar who lives and works in NYC. Her work explores conditions and experiences of instinctual human interactions through the use of the body, rituals, and the intimacy of a kiss. In her performances, videos, paintings and sculptural objects, she calls into question the personal narratives of vulnerability and desire. In her immersive installations she invites the viewers to engage and share a private intimate moment in a collective environment experience. The artist’s personal rituals fuse the fragments of cultural traditions, rituals and beliefs into performative actions and objects.