The Pandemic Project :: Athena Mazarakis

As a response to the UJ Choir’s rendition of Sarah Hopkin’s Past Life Melodies score, the global COVID19 pandemic and the act of making this video work within the context of the pandemic and the South African lockdown, At Our Fingertips work explores a number of colliding themes.

Performed by Mazarakis, Alex Halligey and Jennifer Halligey, it considers the spatial contraction of our lived experiences which pushes us into unprecedented levels of online engagement. With lives framed more and more by the digital screen, the world is simultaneously at our fingertips, and entirely out of reach. But we are social beings, contact and touch are essential to our neurobiology and so, in this new normal we voraciously seek this contact at the bleeding edge of the virtual and the real.

This in-between of the touchless virtual space and the real rendered virtual too through a lack of proximity, closeness and grounding touch. A new virtual real where touch triggers anxiety and distance protects. A new virtual real where restriction and isolation defend and become expressions of social solidarity and care.


Song : Past Life Melodies – Sarah Hopkins (1958)

Sarah Hopkins is a unique Australian composer-performer, highly acclaimed for her visionary music and inspiring performances for cello, harmonic overtone singing and choir. This iconic piece embraces several vocal techniques not traditionally used in Western choral music, namely open-throated chant singing, Aboriginal inspired chant and harmonic overtone singing.