«Holistic Expeditions. Immersion and Eclipse»

By Thomas Oberender

Like the Covid virus, a solar eclipse also presses the pause button – for a few minutes God takes away the world’s colours and the birds fall silent. In that moment, there are no atheists. The Covid-19 pandemic became an experience of how our planet is connected – both the good and the bad were shared by people on all continents. The pandemic pressed the pause button on the engine driving the world economy.

Silent skies. For almost eight weeks my window ledges were free from soot. No kerosene was being dumped from the fuel tanks of planes when a favourable tailwind had left them too full to land. In Venice, people began to see fish in the water again and birds walked down the streets of New York. Satellite images showed the industrial regions of China and Northern Italy no longer covered in smog. All this will do something to us. This experience was planet-wide, it will shape an entire generation and work like a bath of developer in analogue photography: it has accentuated social division, the processes of dismantling democracy and awareness of how urgent it is to change course politically and mentally.

The virus was a crash course in understanding how connected our planet is but also how connected we are with the planet. What a metaphor that we were infected by »cross-species transmission” – the virus jumping from the body of one species to another. The disappearance of a boundary between ecological spheres and species could hardly be illustrated more graphically: there are no »higher” and »lower” animals, as Lynn Margulis says, just an omnipresent life, that is fragile, that nourishes us and provides us with obligations.