Arts Lab Report: March, Cold spring, Static street.

April is here and it has been weeks since I stayed in this house. The cold weather comes and goes while my companions and me struggle to get things done within the house. I came to this voluntary programme motivated to work and help out people who has some interest in culture after a long holiday and days of unemployment. The whole quarantine situation has got me down but I shouldn’t complain too much about it as there are people out there who are risking their lives to save others.

So how did I spend the month of March to get over the fact that I am in isolation? Our coordinator Mihaela has given us enough task to keep ourselves busy. With my knowledge of video making I helped my colleagues in making a tutorial video. It’s always funny starting off how the person in front of the camera struggles to deliver a simple line. Somebody always ends up making a weird noise like “Auuuak” with a weird face and the camera captures that magical moment forever.

The weekly Romanian classes were a nice addition in this situation. The very energetic Ioana kept us entertained while also learning new words that we could use to ask the employees in the supermarket. One sentence that I won’t forget is probably “Vrei să te pălmuiesc?”. Let’s hope I don’t ever get to say it during my stay. 

One thing that I appreciate is that the group has been reunited together. March started with me alone in the empty house but by the second week the house was filled with my companions. Everyday we spend the time doing something together: cooking, playing board-games, writing, drawing and even gardening together. I am very grateful for this as I wouldn’t last long if I spent this isolation alone.

A new thing that I did was singing and composing a song as a group. I am always interested in learning about composing so having this first hand experience was interesting. However, my vocal cords are of a teenager in puberty so it doesn’t sound so good to the listeners. I apologize in advance for this. We are now practicing rap so maybe it might sound better by simply mumbling in front of the mic. 

I also spent some time editing videos that I already recorded in the youth center before the crisis began. My editing skills are getting better but I’ve got to say, it’s hard working and sleeping in the same place. Sleeping and waking up has been hard and my schedule is very unbalanced. I really wish the quarantine ends soon so that I can run around freely and become more productive.

It’s too bad the Guadeamus Festival got delayed/cancelled due to this situation. I wrote with with Mihaela and a university student in Iași, Șerban a short film script about the incomprehension of an artist’s art piece in a dull environment. It is a funny, tragic and ridiculous story that we would have shot in the middle of March if the virus didn’t exist. In this sense I learned to cope in creating more videos indoors than outdoors. Just because you have many limitation, it doesn’t mean that you should stop filming your projects. 

The reunions with our mentor, Nikolia, are quite pleasant. Chatting with someone that you don’t meet everyday is always welcoming during this boring times. As a mentor she teaches us a lot of things about the EVS programme: what actions to take during certain times and sharing us the experience she had when she used to be a volunteer. And who can ever forget about the cute dog Zaharias begging for pets to all of us. The first group meeting was in person but now we have to meet through face-chat.

That sums up my first month volunteering in Târgu Frumos. It wasn’t what I expected but hey, at least I am learning new things staying at home. There’s always a way to work and contribute even though you are stuck indoors. April is going to be similar as the quarantine is foreseen to continue until mid May but having a good time is going to depend on my attitude towards my daily life. For this reason, I am going to continue finding a way to be productive while I enjoy small things like drawing and even exercising. Hope you all cope well with current situation and please stay safe!

Hanul out.

Hanul is volunteering in Arts Lab 2.0, a project funded by European Solidarity Corps, with the support of European Union.