Joy Ng Mei Lok

Connection

Artwork Details

Long before the Covid-19 pandemic hits, connecting with a community has always been an innate part of our biological programming. It remains inherent and inseparable hitherto.

In the enforcement of a global quarantine and the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, all of us are forced into lockdown, with minimum contact beyond our four walls. The majority workforce petitioning for a working from home experience have their desired fulfilled. Our daily occurrence now revolves around video conferencing platforms to maintain connection and bonding.

Despite our intentional effort to reach out and express love through creative ways, mental illness are still prevailing. The epidemic of loneliness on the surge, especially deprived with our main means of connection; the human touch. After prolonged periods of working from home, polls and articles have shown a gradual shift. The once advocates for a working from home experience are now favouring a return to the office. The common and main factor being loneliness. Video calls between friends start to wear off its initial excitement as the majority starts experiencing a ‘video call fatigue’.

With that being said, as we slowly familiarize ourselves with the “New Normal”, should we really accept it as “normal” way of living? In this era of digitalisation, can human touch be replaced with a screen; or even human appearances with robots?

While we comply to the SOPs, maintain physical distance and hygiene until the virus is completely eradicated, will we let this current reality seep into our core values and alter our belief systems? What would the consequences be if we allow these practises to persist, even long after the virus is gone?

Shouldn’t we acknowledge it instead as a “New Abnormal”, while we patiently wait for a restoration to the intrinsic nature of human connection.

Besides as a record of a common daily occurrence during the lockdown and global pandemic, the work ponders upon the possible shift of human relationships. As our daily lives become increasingly dependent on digital means, will our need for human relations be slowly dulled by a habitual practice we picked up from the pandemic? What a grievous result of isolation, incongruous to our very nature of relating.

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Oil on canvas

3 x 2 ft

2020

RM 1,800