Students start ‘Lockdown in 60’
‘Sixty seconds to recharge your battery’
The account features snapshots into the lives of, amongst others, the head of an intensive care unit in Barcelona, a women’s rights activist in Nigeria, and an Egyptian UG student trying to find his way home from the Netherlands.
‘We really want their stories to recharge your battery’, says Benedek Takács (21) from Hungary, one of the three founders of the initiative. ‘Usually this crisis shows a lot of bad faces, but a happy moment can encourage you.’
The three second-year liberal arts and sciences students were originally working on entirely different projects for their course on narratives in conflict. Dutch student Julia Boot (21) was producing a podcast on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Spanish-Canadian Kolya Dam de Nogales (19) was working with Takács on a documentary on the cultural differences between Transsylvania and Romania. But the corona crisis upended their plans. Traveling to any of these locations was no longer possible.
Getting home also proved a challenge for them. Boot tried to find her way back to the UK, but got stranded with her sister in Amsterdam. Dam de Nogales had to pack his bag within the hour to catch one of the last flights to Barcelona.
‘But with this project we want to not just focus on the hardships’, says Dam de Nogales. ‘We want to complement the numbers with the human story, show the beautiful moments and allow people to share their thoughts.’
One beautiful moment has really stuck with the team. A woman from Cyprus proudly proclaims to the camera how she has created 4,000 protective face shields for healthcare professionals. She’d set out to make a hundred. ‘She said it just felt good to tell someone she achieved this’, says Takács. ‘She was grateful to share it.’
Another couple in Cyprus now realised they had all the time they needed to finally do some gardening, creating their own ‘rhythmic gardening technique’, dancing around the garden, shovel in hand.
Other clips are a little more serious. One features the head of an intensive care unit of a hospital in Barcelona. She’s driving to work, and with a mask suspended from her chin she explains this is the only time she could find to film the video. ‘This is a normal day for her, everything about it shouts this is her daily life, and she shows a real, sort of, tired determination’, says Boot.
‘These sixty seconds of your day tell you a lot about the context of people’s lives’, says Boot. While we’re all experiencing the consequences of the coronavirus, how we’re experiencing them is a little different for everyone. Dam de Nogales realised this when an Italian friend asked him to stop talking about the virus: it was just too emotional.
‘This way people do trust us with their emotions, but they’re in charge of what they share’, says Takács. ‘And hopefully we can cultivate some empathy and diversity.’
Plus, says Boot, they wanted to feel less powerless themselves. ‘This crisis was such a shock and really overwhelming.’ And this project has helped them stay distracted, says Dam de Nogales. ‘Our daily meetings have been a nice way of keeping us sane.’