Taken between January and March 2021 as Ireland was in the throes of its third COVID-19 wave, the following photo project takes the form of an imagined conversation between two individuals expressing their opposing points of view in relation to the ongoing public health measures introduced at the time to tackle the rising COVID-19 infections.
Strict restrictions saw many of the capital streets fall silent as businesses closed and people isolated at home. With digital media offering itself as the new medium for entrenched debate and cavernous echo chambers, the stillness and silence of the streets offered a new forum in which opinions, and rebukes of said opinions, could be written.
Isolated and apart, our social environment becomes distant and void. Streets fall silent, conversations peter out. A time to reflect, a time to appreciate that which is so often lost in the clamour. For most it is simple, logical and just. For others, it is an afront, an assault. A call of resistance and revolt. In the calm of quiet streets and distant hearts, a new conversation has started. Polarised and politicised, entrenched in conviction and belief, the words seek to ask why.
“How do I make myself heard? How do I tell people that this isn’t right? How do I fight back against what others can’t see? 4,000 thousand dead but how many alive? Will this end before more quietly die? Are you blind and lost to that which we have lost? There is no pandemic, the media the virus.“
“Who are to make such outlandish cries? Why deny science and those who will guide. Stay home, stay safe, it’s really not that hard. Do these simple things and soon again we can live. We are in this together, divided we fall. This is not to control us, this is to protect us. Why would you spread such vicious lies? This is not a conspiracy of control, a conspiracy of fear designed to render us impotent and blind.”
“Is this living if I must ask for permission? I won’t wear your mask, I won’t wear your muzzle. I won’t have my voice silenced for asking why. How can you say any of this is normal?“
“Compassion and empathy is why. Be kind to those who you believe to be blind. There is no tyranny in living in fear when, fear is the means to let us live without this pain and suffering.“
“To you I ask, who are you to define the limits of how we exist? Who are you to tell me what freedom truly is when you so happily relinquish yours? Do you fear thinking for yourself in case you find that you don’t really knew who you are?”
“Like sheep following the shepherd, you are happy to be fed the lies they tell you. Why ask questions when it is easier to be led. Who wants to think for themselves when they can tell you how to live. The infallibility of their lies. Do your research, the cure cannot be worse than the disease. If you are afraid to live your life because you might die, then you already gone. Freedom is essential.“
“And so is living. There is no idiocy in giving up so much in order to protect so few. Kindness and empathy are not empty virtues, but beacons we hold. The darkness stretches long into the night as all across the land quiet voices call out. Who are we to ignore their plight?. Who will come to your aid when it is your turn to call out? We are not doing this because we are afraid to die, we are doing this because we want to live.”
“Can’t you see this is what they want? Their grand hoax simply referred to as normal. None of this is new. They have been coming for us for a long time and now you refuse to see that which I see. Dare to call me blind when you sit and watch their lies. No one asks questions, afraid to smile. We cover our mouth as there is no longer an I. More cases and less faces. That is their mantra. How can the healthy be a burden on the sick?”
“What can I say to show you how this sacrifice will not be in vain? These times are hard and I share your pain. I know you think all of this mad, and that somewhere in all of this we have lost that which makes us one. Afraid to hug and kiss and embrace. You see me lost but it is I who look for you. These times we live in have brought us great division and strife, but to you my hand reaches out, there is no need to continue this fight.”