Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘Zoom panopticon’

By Aarushi Bhaskaran, Alyssa Cokinis, Barbara Curzon-Siggers, Kara Gibson

Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories hereSubmit your own here.


My room’s filled with half-unpacked boxes from a year ago and suitcases containing half my wardrobe. We moved here, I went off to college, and then I just didn’t have the time. Didn’t. Have. Time. All I’ve got now is time. Time to make this feel like home, like it’s mine. Fairy lights tucked in a corner to sometime adorn my wall, a poster in a box, my old Casio keyboard. I’ve got the time. Someday this’ll feel like home. I think back to my dorm, roommates, classes, job — the start of a life. My life. Someday.

— Aarushi Bhaskaran (San Jose, California)

(Top photo: The wall of my dorm room the week I left.)

* * *


“Change.” And no one moves. “Interlock your fingers and grab your right foot, three inches below your toes.” And nothing. An intake of air as I prepare to repeat the instruction, and suddenly the video jumps forward: the grid of bodies are miraculously mid-posture. I see a gallery of incongruous body parts, depending on camera angles. The individual breaths I monitor so closely are now a mystery to me. Instructing yoga virtually, I rely more now on a dimension of faith. Zoom! Their hands are in prayer and their eyes are shining as we close the practice. Namaste.

— Kara Gibson (Geneva, Switzerland)

What teaching yoga looks like for me, before and after COVID-19.

* * *


Autumn leaves and unseasonably warm evening breeze – the new normal – spread across the path, soon fraying russet remainders will fall onto the turned soil. I buried my little feline, my sanctuary and comfort, dear embodiment of solace, in solitude – the new normal – all I have to give now are the shedding trees and tears. Alone, an old woman squinting in the moonlight, yearning, my soul is curled about that small frame beneath the earth. Resurrection isn’t likely.

— Barbara Curzon-Siggers (Clunes, Victoria, Australia)

Turned soil.

* * *


Second semester never started in Shanghai. My MA hangs on a virtual thread, my classmates and me as little strings connected to my instructor’s Zoom panopticon, or perhaps it’s not theirs to be in charge of. I wasn’t supposed to move to Salem yet, but here I am, with my loving partner, and still we long for our Iowa homes, his still there and mine long gone. Maybe I just want my mom. My belongings are separated by an ocean. There is no crossing it anymore; the US has made sure of that. Bad news, online school: the only constants.

— Alyssa Cokinis (Salem, Oregon)

The view from the 18th floor of Shanghai Theatre Academy, where I lived as I began studying for my MA.


This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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