“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” — Anni Albers
Worldwide lockdown and widespread closure of cinemas, theaters, and cultural hubs have forced people to spend more time at home away from their normal creativity communities. Although this mandatory social distancing is primarily an act of social solidarity to cut off the virus from new hosts, it can be the cause of feelings of isolation and loneliness. Thus, people came up with innovative ways for connection and expression to pass time at home and to keep them together, symbolically, during these distancing times.
During the coronavirus crisis, many communities have proved their ability to come together and bridge the social distance through art and creativity. They embarked on a quest for filling the lack, instead of feeling a lack, by taking art to a whole new level.
One great example for this is the Balcony Performance experience: a plethora of performances of residents and households singing, playing music, and dancing on their balconies, with a standing ovation from neighbors while social distancing is guaranteed. Under lockdown, performers are not only finding ways to voice their anxiousness toward the uncertain Brand New World shaped by the coronavirus, but also trying to offer their quarantined neighbors a little bit of joy amid the ongoing pandemic.
Besides singing national anthems, quarantined residents have also taken their balconies to applause medical workers to boost their countries’ collective morale. They have rediscovered these liminal spaces as a source of hope and connection to the outside world.
With videos widely shared over social media platforms, these public pandemic practices have been enjoying a newly-found popularity in several countries, such as Italy, Spain, Iraq, the U.S., France, Egypt, Lebanon, India, Germany, and more. Soon the balcony performers have become a basic metaphor for how time of crisis can bring the best in people. Yes, the coronavirus crisis has positively sparked cultural inventions, creating a new unifying experience!
this cultural flux of Balcony Performances leads us to ask a question: When the
quarantine is finally over, will these creative prompts continue or such sense
of community and connection will be forgotten?
From France to Italy, and Lebanon to Egypt, take a stroll through splendid balcony performances around the world:
New Orleans musician Tim Laughlin plays clarinet on his French Quarter balcony
Maurizio Marchini Serenades City of Florence from his balcony during the Italian quarantine lockdown
Rome residents sing the classic Italian song ‘Bella Ciao’ from their windows and balconies as the city remains under lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak
Bella Ciao – Balcony Sax Performance in Italy
Freddie Mercury impersonator dancing to ‘I Want to Break Free’ from his balcony in Spain
Egyptian violinist Mohammed Adel plays the violin from his balcony in Cairo, Egypt, on March 31, 2020
Lebanese people clapping on their balconies in a show of support to members of the country’s medical workers
Images of some of the musicians and grateful neighbors in Spain, Iraq, the U.S., France, Italy, Lebanon, India, Germany, and more, socializing from a safe distance: