That’s Interesting and Uplifting 04.06.2020

As we all try to adapt, cope, be safe and do our part to control and overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to find ways to stay motivated and positive. That is why, over the last few weeks, That’s Interesting has been focusing on initiatives and ideas that are uplifting and inspiring in these challenging times.

So, from ornamental, Buddhism-inspired facemasks to auspicious hands soap, here are some things that made us say “That’s interesting, and uplifting!” in the studio this week.

Blackout Tuesday.

On 2 June 2020, Social Media was engulfed by black squares as all types of users – from individuals to celebrities – consciously paused their usual posting to virtually join ongoing anti-racism protests and mourn the death of yet another black man – George Floyd – at the hand of four white police officers in Minneapolis.

The premise of That’s Interesting is to be inspiring and uplifting. Obviously, there is little of this sentiment here. Anger, sadness and injustice prevail instead. But there is also drive and determination. At the time of writing, #BlackoutTuesday has been used almost 29 million times, accompanied by posts creating a discourse and offering resources to become more educated about racism and, in so doing, to push for the systemic changes needed to put an end to it once and for all.

So may this not end up as yet another viral-but-futile show of solidarity on the web. And may the true intent of #BlackoutTuesday and Black Lives Matter prevail.

Take action here

Note: This link is to one of the lists of resources shared by activists. Many others can be found by searching #BlackoutTuesday on Instagram.

Fortune soap.

Hand soap has never been so important and so precious. Using it regularly and properly to wash and sanitise our hands is still one of the simplest and most effective ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other diseases. Bezalel Incubator has explored the new symbolism of this humble hygiene hero, looking at how it has become infused with both science and superstition. The Fortune Soap is inspired by Chinese Feng Shui lucky charms: the coins are made of soap which, once used up, leave users with an auspicious red knot to hang in their home, a neat parallel to the act of handwashing helping to protect from the virus.

Good, clean luck here

Visual thanks.

Designer Freyja Sewell’s vibrant and wonderfully bizarre ornamental face masks are a creative tribute to Coronavirus Key Workers. Made from recycled objects like yoghurt pots and pieces of felt, the masks are not a form of PPE, but symbolic, celebratory ornaments of the eight main groups of Key Workers. To give the pieces the right meaning, status and honour, the designer was inspired by religious imagery such as Buddhist Thangka paintings. As Sewell herself describes to Dezeen, “The face mask is 2020’s most iconic and important visual motif. […] Artists and designers are using this motif within their work to help reframe our perception, its inclusion in stunning images and positive narratives encourages the daily use of them by the public, a critical step in shaping our choices moving forward.”

Celebrate Key Workers here 

Socially distant dining.

What will dining out look like post-Coronavirus? How will cafés and restaurants find the right recipe to be welcoming, desirable, reassuring and safe? We can catch glimpses of the answer in countries where lockdown has already started to ease. And the answer does not necessarily have to be a sheet of plexiglass between tables. Amsterdam-based eatery Mediamatic ETEN has created the Serres Separées concept, a series of glasshouses big enough for a table for two that line the canal outside the restaurant. The picturesque set-up respects social distancing rules and repackages them into an intimate, cosy and exclusive dining format.

Glasshouse for two here

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