The weekend of March 20th was the first weekend that shelter-in-place ordinances were being taken very seriously here in Santa Rosa. It was the weekend when it suddenly became very real for many of us. For those three days I holed myself up in my studio and consumed way too much junk food and news updates. At this time the World Health Organization was using the term “social distancing” to describe what one should do to avoid spreading the virus. Considering that we use the term “social media” to describe the act of being social over the Internet, social distancing sounded like it was supposed to be the opposite of that, and felt very isolating and lonely. It was a bizarre experience and reminded me of video games about the distant future, in a world where people can’t leave their homes due to the atmosphere having become toxic or something.
Eventually I came across a video of a hospital in Italy where the medical staff was overwhelmed with Coronavirus patients. The tone of the footage was that of total misery, despair, chaos…doctors and nurses going from one patient to another as if they were medics on a battlefield, having to choose whose life was worth attempting to save. The patients looked morally defeated, left with nothing to do but sit and try to breathe, in what I eventually learned were “mobile ventilators,” or, plastic bubbles that are put around their heads to pump oxygen into their lungs if their respiratory system is too sensitive for tube respirators. The footage was probably dramatized by the editor, but in my already-delirious state I was completely overwhelmed by this.
During these three days I made 90% of this album.