The Weathered Lives project has been enriched by our collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Luke Jerram, whose practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and living art projects. Luke is known globally for his innovative arts practice and large-scale public artworks.
Throughout 2020, living the weather has become intertwined with our experiences of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As lockdown entered our lives in Spring continuing to different degrees through Summer, Autumn and Winter, different weather elements along with the presence or absence of daylight have taken on greater magnitude for how able we feel to weather the Covid storm. At the same time, we have become increasingly sensitised to air flow; what gets carried on the wind, for how long and far. Face masks have introduced feelings of stuffiness and suffocation, even when worn in open air.
Our collaboration helped inform Luke’s latest artwork In Memoriam – a temporary memorial for the public to visit to remember those lost from the COVID-19 pandemic and to pay tribute to all the NHS health and care workers who have been risking their lives during the crisis. Acknowledging those people who have been in hospital and care homes during this crisis, the flags are created from bed sheets and arranged in the form of a medical logo.
Presented in the open air and in windy locations, In Memoriam references the role that the weather has played in our health and mental wellbeing during lockdown. Changing minute by minute, it responds to the altering weather conditions; amplifying the weather while making the invisible air currents visible.
This is not lost on visitors to In Memoriam, many of who have commented on the various emotions that are echoed somehow by the different ways in which the wind moves through the flags; from furious billowing to a quieter, calming ripple.
Our capacity to weather the pandemic has been grossly influenced by a multitude of inequalities. In Memoriam makes visible what must ultimately become, the winds of change.
Find out more about In Memoriam here.
Read the British Medical Journal’s feature on In Memoriam here.
Heading image credit: Ilse Ruttens Van de Velde