[NetBehaviour] How is everyone?

Helen Varley Jamieson helen at creative-catalyst.com
Sun Mar 22 23:10:16 CET 2020

here's an update from aotearoa new zealand:

we are officially at "level 2" alert, which means social distancing, no
non-essential travel, all community spaces like libraries, swimming
pools, etc are closed. schools are still open, but it is being hotly
debated whether/when they should also be closed. so far all covid19
cases are still connected to overseas travel, but it's tracking up
quickly & there must be community transmission even if it's not yet

from what i can observe here (in dunedin, small southern university
town), people are being quite sensible. there's no panic buying in our
local supermarket, & the streets are quiet but not empty. just now on
the radio there is an interview with some university students who are
offering to bring groceries etc for elderly & people in isolation.
community in action :) my 86-year-old mother is reluctantly staying home
- all her activities like U3A & exercise class have been cancelled
anyway, & her beloved library bus won't be coming to her neighbourhood.
she has an abundant vegie garden & bursting freezer so no need to go out
for a while!

unfortunately my partner & i have to travel tomorrow - we're flying up
to another small town in the north island to empty out the house of an
uncle who died in february. at the moment, non-essential travel is
discouraged but not forbidden, so we are hoping that we can get this job
done as it's been a huge planning exercise. it's not a creative project,
but i really resonate with ruth about furtherfield's situation - all of
the planning that goes into it & then all of the work to change / adapt
in such a rapidly changing situation ... it's exhausting & depressing.
our lives as artists are precarious all the time so we're used to
existing in a state of adaptability anyway, but now we're being pushed
even further :/

i am personally pretty relieved that i was already having a
self-inflicted freelancer's sabbatical for the first 6-months of this
year, so i haven't got any work lined up to get cancelled. however the
trip home is certainly not turning out the way i expected! & i have no
idea whether i'll get back to germany at the end of july ... at least
that is still a long way away, & we are a lot better off on these
distant islands than in the middle of the epicentre! munich is in total
lockdown & our house-sitters sent video of civil defence vans driving
through deserted streets broadcasting instructions to stay indoors.
quite surreal!

take care everyone, & if you need some socially distanced social
interaction, come along to the Pandemic Party in UpStage this evening -
8am monday morning UK time.

h : )

On 23.03.20 07:51, Edward Picot via NetBehaviour wrote:
> Hi Ruth and everyone,
> Actually work hasn't been so bad. We've gone from mainly face-to-face
> consultations to what they call 'total triage' - nobody gets to see
> the doctor without him telephoning them first - within the space of a
> week. The nurse is still seeing people: you can't do things like blood
> tests and dressings over the telephone. But she has to wear the
> protective gear - face mask, gown, gloves - and change it once every
> few patients; and we've cancelled all the non-urgent stuff, like
> diabetic checks and asthma checks, the aim being to only have one or
> two people in the surgery at a time, not counting the staff.
> The local chemist has gone into meltdown. Everybody is panic-ordering
> their medication all at once. I went past the chemist on Saturday
> morning and the queue of people trying to get prescriptions was out
> the door. Lots of people are jumping ship from the local chemist to
> online pharmacies like Pharmacy2U, because the online pharmacies are
> set up to do home deliveries; but the elderly, who are the ones who
> really need home deliveries because they're the ones who can least
> afford to catch the virus, are least likely to make this move because
> they're the least techno-savvy section of society. There are other
> people who can help them out, though - 'social prescribing', which is
> where we direct patients to 'helping hand' agencies, has suddenly gone
> from being a peripheral thing to a front-and-centre option.
> Two things we're trying to get up and running are video consultations
> and remote working. We were given a laptop about a year ago by the
> Health Authority, which works off a VPN link, and the idea is that if
> you're at home and stick your smart card in it, you can log into the
> clinical system at the surgery and see patient records and do
> electronic prescribing and stuff just as if you were there. This would
> be brilliant, especially if David (the doctor) has to self-isolate at
> some point but still feels well enough to work - but the VPN licence
> has run out. We contacted the IT department to get it renewed once the
> crisis started to get serious, about ten days ago now, but of course
> they've been overwhelmed, so they haven't sorted it out for us yet.
> As regards video consultations - which would be really useful for
> things like people with rashes - we've managed to get these working
> via mobile phones, but it's very glitchy because the WiFi at the
> surgery keeps going wrong. Either it doesn't work at all, or it works
> with no internet connection, which has been pretty much how it's been
> ever since we had WiFi put in. The other option is to do video
> consultations on a desktop or laptop computer: there's a startup tech
> company called Nye, based in Oxford, which offers this for free, and
> we got it up and running on David's desktop, which is equipped with a
> USB camera - but then the camera immediately went wrong. This is
> pretty much how things work in the NHS. If the technology was in place
> and reliable, we could do a whole lot more.
> The most frustrating thing for me and David, I think, is the sheer
> volume of updates we're being sent. If I see one more email titled
> 'Covid-19 - urgent - for immediate action' I'm going to do an act of
> violence. You physically cannot keep up with all this stuff when the
> phone is constantly ringing and you've got a million other things to
> deal with. And the lack of testing is frustrating too. We've got a
> nurse who's been off for a week with Coronavirus-style symptoms, but
> of course we don't know whether it really is the Coronavirus or not -
> so if she comes back to work and then gets another sore throat, she'll
> have to self-isolate for another week.
> On the other hand in some ways it's kind of exhilarating. Suddenly
> we've been given a licence to ignore all the bureaucratic crap we
> usually spend our time struggling with, and that's quite liberating;
> and the pace at which we've managed to reorganize our services, with a
> lot of cooperation from the patients, it has to be said, has been
> startling.
> On a personal level my main concern has been shopping. I go to bed
> worrying about whether I'm going to be able to get any food in the
> shops the next day. I've done all right so far, but I normally don't
> get up to the Co-Op, which is our local supermarket, until after three
> o'clock, and by that time there's virtually nothing on the shelves; so
> I've been having to dodge out of work and make special trips up there
> at about 9.30, once I've got somebody else to cover the front desk.
> The other thing is that my demented Mum is in a care home a few miles
> from here, and they've closed their doors to visitors, so instead of
> going to see her twice a week, all of a sudden I'm not seeing her at
> all, which is a big change to my routine.
> You do get very fed up with the stupidity of the public at times,
> especially where things like panic buying and panic ordering of
> prescriptions are concerned. You think to yourself 'This is what we're
> like now - people have been brainwashed to be consumers, not citizens
> - they don't know how to act responsibly towards one another any
> more'. Then you come across people who are being really unselfish and
> helpful towards one another, and you realize that things are a lot
> more nuanced than that. And when I do get up to the Co-Op, everybody's
> giving everybody else elbow-bumps and making jokes about the state of
> things, and you think to yourself 'Oh well, at least there's one good
> thing about Britain - we do have a sense of humour'. You find yourself
> chatting to strangers, and you feel closer to the people who you
> already know, because there's a sense of all being in it together.
> Then something really annoying happens, or you have to deal with
> somebody who's being completely self-centred and unreasonable, and
> you're back to wanting to throttle everyone again.
> Edward
> On 22/03/2020 15:14, Ruth Catlow via NetBehaviour wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> This last couple of weeks have been full of chaos and uncertainty for
>> us in the UK - and much longer for others.
>> The sudden shut down is clearly distributing immediate and extreme
>> hardship very unevenly. 
>> I personally found the indefinite postponement of Furtherfield's 2020
>> 'Love Machines' programme last Monday (in the week we had planned to
>> announce everything) incredibly hard to do, and to handle. I know we
>> will adapt and find another way to make things work, but that doesn't
>> stop it being incredibly disappointing, frustrating and disorientating.
>> I'm now starting to adjust but I wanted to share this personal
>> (non-life-threatening) experience with you because I would like to
>> hear more from everyone about how the Corona virus is effecting them,
>> so we can build a better picture, beyond the numbers and the public
>> announcements, to understand how things are changing. And most of all
>> it would just be good to know how everyone is doing (from regular
>> contributors to all lurkers).
>> Warmly
>> Ruth
>> -- 
>> Co-founder & Artistic director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised
>> Arts Lab
>> +44 (0) 77370 02879 
>> *Furtherfield *disrupts and democratises art and technology through
>> exhibitions, labs & debate, for deep exploration, open tools & free
>> thinking.
>> furtherfield.org <http://www.furtherfield.org/>
>> *DECAL* Decentralised Arts Lab is an arts, blockchain & web 3.0
>> technologiesresearch hub
>> for fairer, more dynamic & connected cultural ecologies & economies now.
>> decal.is <http://www.decal.is>
>> Furtherfield is a Not-for-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee
>> Registered in England and Wales under the Company No.7005205.
>> Registered business address: Carbon Accountancy, 80-83 Long Lane,
>> London, EC1A 9ET.
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helen varley jamieson

helen at creative-catalyst.com <mailto:helen at creative-catalyst.com>

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