Life in the Containment Zone Under Quarantine

In response to COVID-19, Skywatchers reimagined our creative practice to meet the urgent demands of this time. Seeking innovative solutions to continue engaging the Tenderloin community (disproportionately affected by the pandemic), we are developing new creative strategies, technologies, expertise, and partnerships for resource sharing.

Our community’s remarkable response to the challenges of the pandemic will take shape in our new archival project, “Life in the Containment Zone Under Quarantine.”

Our goals:

  • To stay connected and fight the affects of social isolation.
  • To bear witness to and archive the stories of Tenderloin residents during the pandemic.
  • As a community of care, be ambassadors of health and civic engagement in the larger Tenderloin neighborhood.

As we continued meeting virtually via zoom resident ensemble members expressed concern that their community was not being provided with the education or necessary support to safely navigate the virus.

Skywatchers ensemble:

  • Designed and launched a public health poster campaign.
  • Wrote chants and gave personal testimony in a direct action to ask the city to close streets to allow for more social distancing, and provide— short of shelter—hand washing stations and bathrooms to encampments in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Skywatchers expanded our modes of creation and performance by:

  • Hosting a series of virtual open mics
  • Simulating our usual in person group singing practice with a video collage

Skywatchers first Open Mic during Shelter In Place
Melanie DeMore leads Skywatchers in a virtual chorus of “Standing Stone.”

In June, Skywatchers came outside, masked and socially distant, for movement and writing work that tapped into the national discourse on police violence and reparations, linking the intimate and quotidian in the Tenderloin to this movement for justice.

As we move into the fall, we will begin to weave together movement, narrative, video, still photography, and writing on an interactive web platform to archive this moment in time and invite others into “Life in the Containment Zone Under Quarantine.”