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What does the phrase “strange times” even mean? It is a socialised scapegoat that allows an individual to grasp the paradoxical reality to which all humans have been exposed.

What these “strange times” have shown us is that nobody knows how to act or how to correctly describe reality. This is contrary to the information that we hear from politicians and scientists. The global society has reached the realisation that no-one can 100% predict the consequences of any action in the complexity driven interdependent world. “Strange times” are not strange at all.

Today’s circumstances just show us the inherent problem of the human mind, the self, which is based on the obsession with prediction and calculation because of the one scary world, death. Contemporary ideology has been build upon these principles, to advance the human organism, and to create a living myth of how important human life is. A secular and materialistic society is a perfect vehicle for an individual’s transcendence. Without this ideology, we would not be able to deplete our planet and its resources. All this just for an individual to maximally enjoy themself, through inculturation of the human basic needs, and to leave a mark for future generations. However, the consequences are producing a different effect. On a micro level, individuals are becoming more anxious and depressed, and the future generations are only getting debt and drained ecosystem as a gift from their grandparents.

In this series, I want to show others, the nonsensical nature of human life. We crave these times where the absurdity of life reveals to our selves. These moments when we laugh or start nonsensically dance. We are enjoying the moment without the constraining nature of the future. In these experiences, captured in the first month of the quarantine, one loses the sense of time. In other words, one gains the understanding that the past is a part of a present moment. Thus, the future is nonexistent.

These images depict the quest for these moments that do not display a nihilistic answer to the phrase, “we are living in strange times, right?” They show either moment of ego-dissolution or creative ich. In both moments, all of us have to be lucid about life’s absurdity, and this then gives us tools to create meaning for us and others. Moments such as dancing with a cigarette in your mouth, tripping in the park while appreciating nature’s interconnectivity, chatting with friends, listening to old vinyl, napping, building a life with somebody else, trying a new recipe, curating memes, and creating a false persona. They all showcase an attempt to enjoy the blissful existence without being restrained by the harsh reality and future consequences, which at the same time cannot be predicted, by the corona crisis to our lives.

by Oldřich Šubrt


Soundtrackcity Het huis van Amsterdam met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West