Time in quarantine seems to have developed into a huge focus on creative minds, with more online festivals and artistic projects than you can shake a stick at. At Audiovisual City, we’ve been taking advantage of the time to network with artists and discover more projects than ever. We got in touch with Miguel and Rodrigo AKA Boris Chimp 504 through the audiovisual network #supportvisualists, and were particularly keen to learn more about their experiences, experimentations and creations during the quarantine so far…
1. You guys are based in Portugal. How is the situation there at the moment and how have you been affected professionally, as audiovisual artists?
We had some shows and projects cancelled or postponed, not only with Boris Chimp 504 as with other parallel projects. In the case of Boris Chimp 504 we started presenting a new AV Show – Vanishing Quasars – last September and had some nice shows in the end of 2019 Electro Alternative (Toulouse), Fotonica (Roma), Criatek (Aveiro), 948 Merkatua (Pamplona) and we were hoping to tour the show around in 2020. But now with these situation, everything is on standby, and we are unsure about when we’ll be able to get back on stage.
R: In my particular case I also teach at the university (and are running the classes on videoconference), so I am able to have a fixed income. But many Portuguese artists/technicians/AV/…. who work as freelancers or project based in the cultural, events, music and AV scene are struggling as everything has stopped right now, and many are left with zero income for an unpredictable amount of time.
M: Luckily I have some savings (ah ah) and the government gives some financial help to “independent workers” [autónomos in Spanish] but I’m still working (at a much lower rhythm) on projects that hopefully will happen when this situation ends.
2. As an audiovisual collective, you usually collaborate together in a physical space. How has your way of working changed in the current situation?
In our case, our way of working has not changed much, as we live in different cities (Porto, Faro). So working remotely is our normal way of working: making video calls, changing emails with ideas, sending audio/video files back and forth, etc… The project started when we were both living in Barcelona, and then we were working in the same physical space and developed some nice working and communication skills between us. When eventually we came back to our hometowns, we managed to change that on a virtual basis, although we frequently travel between Faro and Porto, and also so every time we have any kind of presentation we use that time fully for rehearsing, test stuff, etc… Right now it looks like we won’t be travelling soon, so this gives us more time to work on audiovisual content, than when we are touring.
3. What things have you learned as a result of the quarantine and what would be your message to other AV artists around the world about how to manage the situation in order to prepare for the future?
R: In the beginning I thought that I would be super-productive during these days, and spend days coding and creating visuals, learning new stuff, but in fact it is super difficult to concentrate, as I am constantly checking the Covid19-news social media etc. So my artistic productivity is really low. Also I ended spending even more time in front of the computer, which is not good, as after some hours I start to get dizzy, tired and without patience to create anything. On the other hand I have been really enjoying cooking, speeding time in the kitchen and try new dishes (maybe because I am not looking at screens.). So my advices would be: low your productivity expectations, avoid check the news all the time (maybe only 1 time a day to keep track of the situation). And manage your screen time, avoid spend all day in front of the computer.
M: In my case I have a small toddler home to keep me busy, so soon I realised it would be much more difficult to work (at home) than before. After accepting the facts, I work with a different pace now, enjoy time with my family and try to watch the minimum news possible about Covid-19. I’m still aware and not disconnected of all around but I think it’s wise to try to keep a “safety distance” from getting overwhelmed. I would say that more than trying this moment to work more (and get stressed about it), maybe this is a time to slow down and accept it. Sooner or later we’ll all gonna go back to crazy schedules so we better enjoy while we can.
To find out more about Boris Chimp 504, see their artist page