Chronicles of a pandemic
Luxembourg, April 2020
Patrick Galbats » Romain Girtgen » Veronique Kolber » Andrès Lejona » Carole Melchior » Marc Schroeder »
CNA Centre national de l'audiovisuel
1b, rue du Centenaire
Chronicles of a pandemic Luxembourg, April 2020 Patrick Galbats, Romain Girtgen, Véronique Kolber, Andrés Lejona, Carole Melchior and Marc Schroeder
The unprecedented crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus is disrupting our habits and our lifestyles, our use of public spaces and our intangible freedoms. One of the CNA’s central missions is documenting the major changes and events affecting Luxembourg. In this context, and in order to promote photographic creation and support its authors, the CNA launched a photographic commission to bear witness to the impact of the pandemic on social environments, as well as on Luxembourg's urban and natural landscapes. These "chronicles of a pandemic" aim to capture often elusive and unreal situations and moods.
The aim of this commission is to document the transformations of landscapes, the shutdown of building sites, the closing of shops, cultural venues, leisure and tourism sites, the abandonment of public places, the decrease of road and air traffic and the cancellation of traditional events that would normally be fixtures in the Grand Duchy’s yearly agenda. A further objective is to have a closer look at the adaptive capacity of entire populations when faced with a new and unprecedented situation, disrupting both their personal and professional lives.
Patrick Galbats, Romain Girtgen, Véronique Kolber, Andrés Lejona, Carole Melchior and Marc Schroeder were invited to take up this challenge: six photographers, six different photographic approaches, six distinct points of view.
Patrick Galbats - Love in times of Covid-19
After more than two weeks in lockdown, without being able to see our friends, it seems to me that a sweet feeling of euphoria is slowly making itself known. All of a sudden, we are rediscovering the small pleasures of an extended breakfast even on weekdays, of home-cooked meals every night and of sipping coffee on our balconies warmed by the sun without even the noise from a single aeroplane. Some of us are turning into avid runners, some find themselves doing their tax return a good six months earlier than usual. This current situation finally gives us the opportunity to check some items off our bucket lists. Might this period that we’re currently living in actually allow us to make up for lost time? My photographs, all taken during the confinement in Brussels, bear witness to this intimate journey between love, anxiety and ease.
Romain Girtgen - The photographic chronicles
Investigating in Dudelange, Esch and the south of Luxembourg during this forced confinement, has revealed to me urban and natural landscapes in a whole new state of mind. This area, which I'm very familiar with and which usually buzzes with activity, is suddenly completely on hold. Taking pictures in this context is not easy ... there is nobody there! Everyday feels like a Sunday afternoon when people stay at home. At the market in Esch, I encounter a few people who've dared to go out. Folded chairs are stacked behind empty Bistro windows hiding empty counters… I travel by bike to capture these empty streets, the waiting, the standstill, the outdoor activities…. and this strange new way of meeting, constrained by a distance of 2m and the wearing of masks. This new situation is also affecting my own life, my family, my immediate surroundings. From one day to the next, we find ourselves isolated from our loved ones and the concept of time begins to take on a whole new dimension.
Veronique Kolber - On & Off the National 7
Driving in my car, alone, along the National 7. Taking different exists and discovering where the road leads me to. Being isolated in a small space, stepping outside to breath that fresh air. This work isn’t just a photographic commission, it represents the essential feeling of being free to roam. Something that seemed to be so ordinary before the lockdown. Documenting the nearly empty cities and the quiet rural landscapes of North Luxembourg. Finding out if there is now more active life in these vast landscapes than in the main cities of the North. Chasing the sunset light through this moody and idillic scenery, but with a very bizarre feeling that floats amongst all of us. Photographing the quiet nightfall. But also being present when a new day begins.
Andrés Lejona – A photographic documentation of the Moselle region
Creation of a visual register of current aspects of this area. I wanted to photograph the daily life of the inhabitants of the Moselle region, trying to find the differences between the atmospheres and activities that may exist today, in comparison to the normal state of things outside of the pandemic. My photographs show the businesses of the region - those still working as well as those in shutdown - the (almost complete) absence of traffic in the air, on land and on water, the empty restaurants, the barred bridges marking the border with Germany, the standstill on construction sites, the hiatus in social and cultural life (museums, schools, churches, etc.).
Carole Melchior - L'instantané mobile (1)
At the beginning of April, I set off, I follow landscapes, I cross villages. I photograph at the rhythm of my own journey, I capture little snippets, fragments, I do it intuitively. Color is essential. I drive, I walk, I stop, I observe. After nineteen days of confinement alone in my home, this border trip seems like a real expedition. I get the strong impresssion of leaving a vessel, my house, to venture outside. Because it seemed to me that I could feel the earth turning beneath me in this form of immobility, in this altered physical and psychic territory. Attentive to every variation in light and temperature, immersed in the partition of the birds, each day somehow became a new experience, my perception of time changed. Everything had seemed so intense to me in these last weeks of March. Fear, sadness, anger, but also joy, and the feeling of spring awakening.Driven by this feeling, I take on this photographic mission, trying to discover how the pandemic is transforming the towns and places I pass through. Essentially, they are subtle changes, I think. I then take photographs along the way, like the elements of a survey, a digital documentation, a visual flow through which I weave a story, like an ordinary moment. (1) The term "l'instantané mobile" is borrowed from Jean-Christophe Bailly's book "Le dépaysement".
Marc Schroeder – BREAK
The proposed project revolves around the term "break" which can refer both to "the action of breaking" and an "interruption or "pause". The emergence of Covid-19 has caused a disruption at all levels of our society and current system: large parts of the economy, people's free movement and the usual social interactions are practically at a standstill; with political leaders and experts alike facing the chaos caused by the virus, the first measure to fight the spread of the disease and in order to gain time, was to put the population in lockdown at home. The second, somewhat more optimistic, definition of "break" in this context of the crisis is that of an interval of rest and respite from our busy lifestyles. The confinement and our reduced mobility, might represent an opportunity for contemplation, a chance to decelerate, to invent new forms of socialising, to show solidarity and to develop coping mechanisms that can ease the burden of the restrictions currently in force.