Covid-19

Companheiras e Companheiros,

Had you asked us a month ago what would be preoccupying us mid-March 2020, we could have said the citizen uprisings in Latin America, climate change activism, the U.S. election, and of course prepping for an incredible gathering in the summer. Nobody thought a virus would suddenly top that list. Except perhaps The Simpsons.

So what we’re now collectively dealing with, is shock and disorientation. Clearly it will take some time before the dust settles and we have a better grasp of the shituation. But for now we’re off piste. No real roadmap. Keeping cool and using common sense to stay safe seems the best advice. However, with news of outbreaks in refugee detention camps where people were unjustly held in abysmal conditions before they had to deal with Covid-19, we all need to recognise our privilege, and be grateful.

Some have lost their lives, others have lost loved ones, some have simply weathered colds while others remain healthy. Some hope for a quick resolution and others hope for a total collapse so that we may be forced into a new form of economic growth. While sci-fi nerds envision solarpunk utopias, religious doomsayers warn of end times, and conspiracy theorists uncover intricate geopolitical plots – most of us simply remain concerned, trying to strike a balance between optimism and pragmatism.

One blessing of a system shutdown has been the slowing down of things. An ecoactivist mantra advises, “the times are urgent, we must slow down, the times are urgent, we must slow down.” Indeed we are now forced to slow down. To reflect. To rest. To rethink priorities. Quarantine, or involuntary Vipassana? Perhaps we need to isolate in order to learn how to meaningfully connect. (“Don’t just do something, stand there!” said the white rabbit to Alice.)

We are a small, family run festival and while we have been pouring our lives into this special little gathering around the lake, this new clusterfuck (: has us worried. For now, events are officially being cancelled until May. While we are positive that Waking Life´s life should be spared with our mid-August dates, all we can do for now is wait. Therefore, the best way to keep it cool is freezing the last ticket sale until the first week of May, just until we see things stabilising a bit so that we know where we stand. All ticket registrations remain valid, we hope for your understanding.

As a family that needs to take care of each other, our main concern is the safety and health of all participants, crew, and local communities involved. Even though we will only be able to make more accurate conclusions in the course of the next few weeks, we are accompanying the development of Covid-19 closely, and we are studying the possible outcomes in case it would still be around closer to the summer months. We will inform you, our community, as soon as there are developments that may (or may not) influence this summer’s edition. Please try to be patient, and we will keep you updated as we ourselves remain vigilant and informed about emerging policies and regulations.

We are continuing to work on our fourth edition and we are trying to be inspired and not intimidated, instead, to turn the breakdown into a breakthrough. A breakthrough regarding how we live together, how we treat our home, what we consume and why, how we love and care and evolve.

We also want to honour all our art world comrades. All the museums, art galleries, clubs, concert halls and fellow, independent festivals that have shut, or been postponed or cancelled. Especially the ones without big (corporate) funding, that like us, rely entirely on ticket sales and support from their communities. Many of the spaces where we can come together to be immersed in art, healing, dance and transcendence were already struggling to survive in the pre-virus time. Now, lockdowns are effectively turning off the life-support of artists, venue owners, curators, organisers and anyone in precarious employment in the arts (which is most of us). We know that ‘Earth’ without ‘art’ is just ‘Eh’, yet we often forget this and it is in the words of poets, the canvases of painters, the chords of musicians that a sweeter future can be imagined.

Camus wrote The Plague in 1947 but he might as well have been writing last week. “In the early days, when they thought this epidemic was much like other epidemics, religion (nowadays more so materialism and neoliberalism) held its ground. But once these people realized their instant peril, they gave their thoughts to pleasure. And all the hideous fears that stamp their faces in the daytime are transformed in the fiery, dusty nightfall into a sort of hectic exaltation, an unkempt freedom fevering in their blood.” We have spent many sleepless nights, discussing possible future scenarios as well as why we do what we do. And it is this unkempt freedom that Waking Life is in service of. The unstoppable, creative life force of music and dance and art that pushes dreams into reality and imbues our lives with magic and meaning.

Beijinhos (they’ll have to stay virtual for a while), and we’ll be ‘in touch’ (:

A família do Waking Life

*For additional, useful input, The Coronavirus Tech Handbook (www.coronavirustechhandbook.com) is an open, distributed, crowd-sourced platform that is regularly updated and contains some handy surviving/thriving suggestions and resources.