Atlas Everyday X

Ursula Frederick (Australia)

We have all seen the arrows, X’s, dots and dashes springing up at our feet. These X’s and other notations are cautionary signs intended to advise where we should and should not be. Besides their everyday aesthetics of simplicity and improvisation, their sheer proliferation is hard to miss. Like some strange local positioning system or mark of a new situational awareness that we all need to adopt. Over time, some of them peel away or wear off as if to suggest things might soon return to ‘normal’, whatever that was. One day they will be gone – but the uncertainty of when remains their persistent subtext.

Atlas Everyday X is a photographic project recording the everyday archaeological ephemera of the COVID experience through a focus on social distancing floor-marks. Reflecting on how our encounters are shaped by new negotiations around space and bodily engagement, it is also expected
to provide an opportunity for us to come together virtually and share our current experience. Part contemporary archaeology, part collaborative artwork, and part ongoing research into inscription practices, the Atlas invites us to reframe the signs of staying apart into a different way to connect.

Participants are invited to contribute their photographs of these notations and gestures via Direct Messenger to a dedicated Instagram account @atlas_everydayx for the duration of festivalCHAT (and beyond if interest and intrigue prevail). Along with the image, the Atlas asks for a brief description of the location (e.g. a café near Trafalgar Square, London, UK) and a note as to whether the photographer prefers to remain anonymous or to have their @ handle identified in any public post/display. By submitting images participants agree to the fact that it may be shared as a post on the Atlas Everyday X Instagram account. Images will be selected and featured in daily updates alongside the curator’s images of this phenomena.

The project responds to the global experiences of social distancing – and how digital media has sought to circumvent the restraints on movement and interpersonal contact. Depending on the uptake and submissions offered, a curated lo-fi publication of the Atlas may eventuate.

Instagram: direct message to @atlas_everydayx

Hashtags: #festivalchat2020 #atlas_everydayx