ALL MY FRIENDS ARE SOCIAL DISTANCING
During the strict self-isolation period in Slovenia, I video-called my friends and started the ‘All my friends are social distancing’ project. Like the majority of the world’s population we’d found ourselves in that limbo state where every day felt like Groundhog day and we had to find ways to keep busy and bring some sense of normalcy into our lives in so we didn’t lose our minds completely. Video calls became a substitute for what would have been coffee dates or drinks out in the city.
The ‘All my friends are social distancing’ project portrays some of the friends I was regularly in touch with during this time. It captures the communication between two people apart. The images are poor quality, pixels forming my friends’ faces as they are screenshots taken on my phone, showing how I saw my friends while not being able to see them in person.
The only piece of instruction I gave them before these scheduled ‘photoshoot’ calls was for them to dress up as if they had somewhere to go. To wear clothes that had been lying around in their closets and they’d never dared wear out before. To experiment with different styles; we played dress up with the absurdity of having nowhere else to be but home.
‘All my friends are social distancing’ captures a moment in time when we were staying in touch without touching.
ANJA, editor-in-chief of New Edge magazine. Vail, Colorado, Sunday, 18 March 2020, 10.39 am (GMT-6)
‘During quarantine, Anja’s life isn’t much different from the way it was before the pandemic, after moving to the States last Summer. She spends her time on her computer, working on different graphic design projects online and on-distance. “But yeah, I finally have time to read more books, do outside activities and take time for things I didn’t have time for before… It’s fun to spend all day with my husband, since normally we’re busy and not home much. so we used this situation for a lot of cuddling and baking bread and working on tasty home cuisine.”‘
MILA, mom and student. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Monday, 19 March 2020, 1.50 pm (GMT-4)
‘Because she’s still on maternity leave, quarantine didn’t change Mila’s life that much. But since her husband is now working from home, he spends more time with the baby and she is able to get more time for herself. She’s exploring new recipes, finishing her embroidery and other crafty projects, “but most importantly, I get time to sleep in and take longer showers! I tried working out but that didn’t work out. My new favorite are our weekend ‘car picnics’ – we order take-out and drive somewhere where we can enjoy the view and then feast, listen to nostalgic music and watch our daughter explore the car. And every time I go on a groceries venture, I put on my finest outfit and detail it with some cute jewelry.”‘
MARTA, high school student. Lavrica, Slovenija, Monday, 19 March 2020, 8.00 pm (GMT+2)
‘Marta spent her days in self-isolation studying a lot and she finished her senior year (with the exception of matura, which has yet to take place). She started working out and realised she actually loves it. She tried being creative and paint, embroider and sew, which semi-worked out. “I also made THE BEST cinnamon rolls ever and tried learning a new language but got too lazy and eventually, the Duolingo owl gave up on me and stopped sending me threats. I also planed a million after-quarantine outfits that people other than the Hofer staff will be able to see and enjoy.”‘
NAICHE, writer and poet. Brooklyn, New York. Monday, 6 April 2020, 2:15 pm (GMT-4)
‘Quarantined in the Covid-19 epicenter of the States, New York City, Naiche works from her home. She joins in on meditation webinars and takes walks to visit her mom, all while wearing the appropriate mask-and-gloves attire. We discussed the absurdity of celebrities tweeting about their boredom from their big houses with large spanning gardens, while Naiche’s Brooklyn apartment doesn’t even have a fire escape staircase for her to sit on and enjoy some air. When she’s not working, Naiche’s writing her novel and preparing for the release of her fourth book, a collection of poems, prose and short stories titled Nesting Beasts, coming out June 7.’
PIA, PhD student. Zürich, Switzerland. Sunday, 5 April 2020, 4:59 pm (GMT+2)
‘During quarantine in Switzerland, Pia finished and presented her Master’s degree in Biochemistry. She’d found herself alone in her flat, which she otherwise shares with roommates. She’d planned on returning to Slovenia to visit her family but due to the unpredictable situation she was forced to postpone those plans. We talked about what it’s like to quarantine alone and how bizarre it is to go to the shop because you need groceries and see people hanging out in the park with no respect to the safety regulations. “But then again, humans are social beings and maybe mental health is more important than panic and mindlessness. Isn’t this pandemic supposed to teach us compassion and consideration to one another, and these two entail more aspects than just wearing a mask and coughing correctly.”‘
LARA, food and beverage manager, chalkboard creator #ljubljansketable. Ljubljana, Slovenia, Wednesday, 8 April 2020,
‘Lara and her cousin/roommate re-potted plants, recreated some Veganika dishes and went for walks to the Ljubljana Castle or Rožnik. She re-read all Harry Potter books except for the second one, developed some psychosomatic diseases and didn’t make a single TikTok video. She did cut her bangs though and has since come to regret it. In her words, “Bangs are never a good idea and you will regret them sooner or later. Maybe rather later than sooner because at least you’ll be a few millimetres closer to your previous length. Don’t get bangs, they look good 10% of the time and they f*ck up your forehead. But at least I didn’t shave my head.” ‘
NEŽA, student. Ljubljana, Slovenia, Friday, 10 April 2020, 2.53 pm (GMT+2)
‘With her roommate self-isolating elsewhere, Neža self-isolated with her boyfriend, which has definitely helped keeping her sane during this time. She celebrated her birthday during this period with a video made by her friends, took classes online, played video games with her friends (with headphones like a proper gamer) and they started a routine of working out together to stay active as they both spend a lot of time sitting behind their computer screens these days. They made use of their balcony on sunny days, cooked a lot of food, watched Adventure Time on Netflix. Neža and I talked about how hectic college has gotten since it’s shifted online, how hard it sometimes is to keep your friends updated on how you’re doing without physically seeing them and how weird it was to visit her family and not hug her mom (before the municipality restrictions came into affect, after which she wasn’t able to visit anymore).’
ANŽE, lecturer, stylist, creative director and fashion editor at New Edge magazine. Manchester, UK, Friday, 3 April 2020, 5.01pm (GMT+1)
‘Anže teaches his classes online during the quarantine in England, which is why every morning he still gets dressed as he would for a normal work day, although some days he wears shorts with a button-up shirt since his legs aren’t visible on camera anyway. He goes on runs and keeps active teaching himself TikTok dances. He bought the shoes he’s wearing in the shot before self-isolation started and was excited to wear them out once the weather got better but now he can’t because there’s nowhere to go – so we decided they’d find their purpose in this shoot.’
TINKARA, student and illustrator. Mengeš, Slovenia, Friday, 24 April 2020,
‘Tinkara tapped into her creative side and started working on her illustrations during self-isolation, which she also shared on her Instagram profile for the first time ever. She walked her dog Freya, repainted her room and juggled online classes. She also started to teach herself the ukulele but she’s still more or less in the beginner phase. “It was really hard on my mental health in the beginning because I spent so much time reading the news, at least once per hour. And I watched the evening news on TV every night which I haven’t in at least two years. But with every passing day I read less and less of it and I kept myself occupied with other activities which put me in a good spirit.”‘
MATEJA, founder of Frachella. Ljubljana, Slovenia, Wednesday, 13 May 2020, 4.20 pm (GMT+2)
‘Mateja’s a small business owner and she kept her brand Frachella up and running through the Covid19-crisis. She spent a lot of time enjoying a beer in the garden with her brother, tried to work out (semi-successful) and baked desserts. Mostly she just tried to enjoy this time as much as she could. The whole situation was f*cked up but since there was nothing you could do about it, Mateja tried to get the most out of it. She talked to her friends a lot and came to the realisation that she rushes in life so she took her time to do the things that she didn’t have time for before.’
Photos: Maja Podojsteršek