I have recently turn't the big 3-0h! And I started to wonder what these strange Covid-19 times would be like 30 years ago. It was the dawn of the 1990s and technology was really in its birth, it is strange to think that Windows 95' launched 25 years ago. But now living in a digital age where we have access to the millions via, social media, apps, and the internet allows us to make connections for even what was a simple task like watching tv. This 'I need it now' culture has made us wanting for the immediate, our patience are dwindling in the light. It really made me think of how even with all this access with our online culture, how many of us still feel lonely and isolated. With Covid-19 a study has been released 3/4/2020 to 3/5/2020 showed that young people ages 16-15 are most effected today by loneliness. I found this shocking as people in this age bracket are 50.8% more likely to be effected with loneliness with Covid-19, yet this age group are also the most active on social media and other digital app platforms. Compared to a survey from 2010 (Griffin 2010) there is a 7% increase in lonely people in UK even looking at this from a decade ago I am still stunned that with our technology advancing why are we as a nation becoming more lonely and isolated.
The reason for this question is that as I approached the big 3-oh! I reflected on how Covid-19 could of impacted us if it had come 30 years ago. In an article written in 1998 titled 'Loneliness an epidemic in modern society' -Colin Killeen highlights that being lonely is a modern age problem, a problem that seems to only be getting alot worse as our modern era becomes more connected as individuals we are being becoming more disconnected. I am interested in disconnect in our singular society (it's all about me). Our community 30 years ago were stronger, but I do think was it easier to cope with less distractions in the 1990s. I remember our huge box tv with a few channels and I was lucky enough to have a Playstation one console roughly in 1999. We didn't have communication tools we do today like Whatsapp and instant messaging. Was it easier having less technology? Would we cope better if we had less distractions and where not so connected? These are just some things I have been thinking about with Covid-19. I know that living more simply suits better than being in the rat race of our digital age. Having some disconnect has been good for me personally.
Online tools and resources are a saving grace, for seeing family on facetime for instance, and I am diffidently not anti technology. But I wonder how we would of coped in a pandemic hit 30 years before. It is an interesting thought and something I am thinking of. Staying connected to family and friends is important and in this digital age we need that. However there has been a resurgence of mail art, penpals and letter writing. Mail art, penpals and letter writing seems to be considered as an dying art, when did anyone send a hand written letter to someone. With Covid-19 people have taken the time to stay connected and make new friendships with modern day Penpals. I have found it interesting as an observation that we can not have the analog without the digital. We find most of our resources via the internet, need an answer to a question ask Google. An app SLOWLY - a digital media for the modern day penpal, aims at our digital age, not having to wait for things to arrive in the post box, but have a penpal letter to your email. I love the mail art movement and hand written letters there is something special seeing that someone has taken the time to make/write to you, time out of a busy day just for you. Thinking of all of these things I want to make connections in my art work, bring people back together and highlight our issues that we all get lonely. Our digital world still needs human connections and I think Covid-19 has really highlighted that.
I am still exploring ideas and thoughts on mail art, penpals, and being lonely in a digitally connected world. So I still sit with how would a pandemic like Covid-19 affected us 30 years ago, I'm really not sure but it's a thought....
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391342/- Loneliness clinical report and interventions
https://www.recoveryonpurpose.com/upload/Loneliness%20An%20Epidemic%20in%20Modern%20Society.pdf - Colin Killeen
file:///C:/Users/Emma/Downloads/Co-Op-Isolation-Loneliness-overview.pdf - Coop report of loneliness
https://fhspost.com/pandemic-pen-pals-2020s-resurgence-of-writing-letters/- The Franklin Post - Pandemic pen pals 2020