Objects & acts of resilience
My watch stopped seven weeks ago to the day and stayed stuck at twenty to twelve. Left unfixed, shops shut and London closed its doors, battened down against an invisible enemy. The watch lay gathering dust, telling lies.
Perhaps it tells a deeper truth of how the world stood still; London’s fast-flowing pace halted just as Big Ben stands straight-jacketed in scaffolding, waiting to chime. How do we make meaning of time without markers, no Easter, Eid, birthdays, Beltane; or without moving outside our imposed postcode prisons? The seasons try to chart the change as they always have, moving from bitter chill in March to May’s burning heat and aquamarine skies, promising endlessness and infinity, which we can gaze at from cramped bedrooms, behind locked doors.
Nature has reclaimed space too; foxes move brazenly through empty streets, abandoned even by litter. Pigeons peck at sparse crumbs, missing crowds. Time is understood not as a constant but relative; Einsteinian equations now felt viscerally as time coalesces and clots like a gaping wound, waiting to heal.
Time has let go but space holds us tighter, taking on new significance, unignorable. that crack in the ceiling. those bedsheets. Objects resonate with greater significance, becoming comfort or solace or provocative.
I photographed five things meaningful to me during isolation and realised the physical objects represented actions, these habits becoming patterns in time repeated over and over, weaving tapestries across weeks and months. Knitting became a metaphor for stitches in time, each knot marking a moment. Writing a journal charted the days, while tea drinking and yoga were old rituals that brought the present into focus. the cauldron, however, represents Wiccan practices of worshipping old gods, who prove harder to find stuck at home.
Yet dreams have grown more vivid; as the waking world slows and condenses, the liminal space of dreamscapes widens into strange vistas of mazes and hedgerows with reaching hands, ghost ships on inky seas or the absent-familiar layout of the family home, visited in spirit not body, freed from time’s constraints.
I look to my watch out of habit; it’s given up, wrong all but twice a day, in a compulsive moment of honesty. there’s little to be late for anyway.