Face Masks

This entry is part 5 of 40 in the series Pandemic Year


Watch on Vimeo.

Face masks, that curiously redundant name—perhaps because it’s only partial, and the mask becomes part of the face… or vice versa. Last week I forgot a mask on a trip to the supermarket in Liberal College Town, and the other shoppers stared and glared. Curled lips were hidden, but I could read their thoughts: “He must be one of them.”

workers behind plexiglass
Easter lilies

This week, a quick trip to a deli in Blue-Collar Republican Town, and this time I remember my mask. Again I get stared at—and now I can see their mouths, too. The smirks. “He must be one of them.” It’s a relief to retreat to the mountain, where the blue-headed vireos are back with their chant that means I am here and This is my spot.

snow on shadbush blossoms
the governor’s
new order

Process notes

A videopoem in the classic style, remixing home movies of unknown provenance and an old commercial from the Prelinger Archives. I did a first draft of this using my own footage of blossoming shadbush and such, but found the result too boring. A second draft sourced footage from a different film for the first half, and I found the contrast with the text a little too jarring. I finally got the idea of searching Prelinger for films tagged “mannequin” and got some footage that seemed to work.

All that farting around, however, meant that the information here got a bit out of date. As of today, I’m told that many more residents of Blue-Collar Republican Town are wearing masks in public.

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