Marching in Place with Jonathan Orozco

"My life has gone totally remote."


Like many current college graduates, Reader arts writer Jonathan Orozco poses for his “digital ceremony” and faces an uncertain future

No one ever tells you how glacial pandemics really are. Wikipedia tells us the Black Death and Spanish flu lasted for years. I already know someone is reading this and thinking: “But the world wasn’t so connected back then.” Well, that’s definitely true, but our current health crisis is still expected to last for months, if not longer.

 My life has gone totally remote because of this. As a UNO student, I have daily classes through Zoom or recorded lectures (you can only imagine how fun it is to do yoga in front of your laptop camera). All this so I can earn my art history BA. In fact, I’m going to graduate in May 2020. With career prospects in the arts being highly competitive, I can only imagine how much of a struggle finding work will be in the coming months.

 My curatorial internship at the Bemis Center has basically ended, with projects I’ve been working on being postponed indefinitely.

 Aside from my professional practice, my go-to activities are videogames and cycling. The great thing about riding a bike is that it is a solo sport, and since hardly anybody in my neighborhood is out and about right now, I indulge myself in this physical exertion.

 Many of my friends are satisfying their need for social connection though Animal Crossing, but I’ve been playing Minecraft. In-person commerce with NPC villagers guarantees no viral transmission, so I can freely explore and engage with this digital society and not worry about potentially getting infected.

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 But all this is quite trivial when considering how this has affected others. Many of my friends have told me about their family members and friends contracting COVID-19. Some family friends have even been in quarantine because of international travel in the past few weeks.

 Yes, we’re all bored and stressed about our future, but at least fewer people are at risk of getting sick. I’ve been passing the time by doing schoolwork and theorizing what a post-revolutionary art work will look like when the economic system collapses and cooperation is the only means of survival. Let’s just say a more equitable world looks and feels much more pleasant than the one we have now.

 


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