Concept behind the "ONE BITE CHALLENGE AFTER CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)" Series
The novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, spread throughout the world at the start of 2020, and has finally reached the stage of being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Many countries have banned
foreigners from entering. The United States has stopped issuing visas throughout the world, essential business has been interrupted, retail stores and restaurants have had their business reduced – the impact of which is set to overtake the
2008 financial crisis in terms of severity. In addition, in March this year, a stay at home order was instituted for the whole state of California, and the situation has become increasingly chaotic.
This piece is basically an alternative version of my work "ONE BITE CHALLENGE" in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Here, I as an artist, was sharing one bite each of a hamburger with Los Angeles's homeless population in an attempt to share their plight, but since the coronavirus outbreak, this act now carries with it a different meaning. If I get close to them, there is a threat of me getting infected, and the reverse is also possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to maintain a distance of six feet from each other. But it was already rare for people to get close to homeless people, and even more so in this situation. Even if the government forces people to stay home, they don't have anywhere to stay. There are worries over a cluster infection occurring. The virus does not care if you're rich or poor. Ironically, that makes it impossible to ignore their existence.
I don't regard this as a temporary situation here. Due to this unprecedented crisis, all that has happened is that the warped structure of the world has been revealed. For example, wanting the homeless to disinfect their hands, and wear rubber gloves and masks may be out of good will, but this reflects the sense of avoiding those unsanitary people that can be seen rather than the invisible virus. The absolute distance between them and the general public has unexpectedly been laid bare and exposed.
I have embodied this situation. Unlike with my previous work, I have cut the hamburgers in half, and then we each take one bite of them. Along with symbolizing the separated relationships caused by this unknown infection, this is also an attempt to be humane by lowering the risk of either of us getting infected. Next, the hamburger's two halves are combined in a picture and restored as an image. This is a metaphor for the politicians and specialists who have made an empty call for solidarity in an effort to resolve this situation. Lastly, a notch is inserted into the completed work and to once again become physically separated. No matter how it is smoothed over, the reality is that it has been completely torn apart.
Everything becomes suspicious in the light of an invisible threat. Panic buying and acts of violence occur, and disturbingly, guns are also being sold. I don't know what we'll bring about in this frightening and uncertain situation, but there is one thing I'll say here. It is impossible for us to go back to how things were before the coronavirus.
Addition May 7, 2020: The temperature of both the artist and homeless person are measured, and written down for each hamburger. Before who we are as people, I believe we are being treated as anonymous beings right now – carrier or non-carrier.