Frame Of Mind - The Balcony Project

Name: Leigh Snowden and Ariel Cohen  Country of Origin:USA (CA & NY) Occupation: Independent Consultant/Art Advisor and Dentist/Designer

"As Ari works in healthcare he was well aware of this up and coming epidemic. He was already immersed in global Medical media and made our home aware of the looming plaguing virus weeks before the hysteria hit. In February Ariel cancelled his trip to Barcelona as we were a little too aware of the ensuing chaos. We worked to prepare physically and mentally; genuinely fearing how/when Trump would handle this in the US." 

"I personally have always been a little neurotically germaphobic. This combined with Ariel’s knowledge of the oncoming pandemic thus inevitably made us much more hyper-aware of our cleanliness, touching/closeness of strangers, what/who we allow into the home, and of course our general sanitation. Our initial reaction (in February) was seemingly dramatic to those who had yet to understand the gravity of the looming Corona. Yet as this was weeks prior to the global awareness;  our reaction proved to pale in comparison to the massive pre-Apocalyptic panic that has taken over so many." 

"We are doing surprisingly well. We understand the reality of this taking until at least June (if not September) to diminish, and completely comprehend why the Global Health Administration is handling things as they are. We are at risk of losing a huge generation of people. It is, unfortunately, already happening quite rapidly in the US. We are both very grateful to be in Israel when this occurred and are furthermore grateful for the mandated rest. There is a huge overarching blanket of fear and anxiety sheathing a lot of the world right now, and we refuse to cater to it." 

"It reminds us that no matter how prepared one is, Tomorrow is always uncertain. 

Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have dealt with severe anxiety my whole life, so this “new normal” is not so new to me. I have always been aware of the global potential for chaos and the anxiety from that plagued me to paralysis previously. That said, I have learned to handle this perpetual reality and have been fine in this. I mention this because I have found that I have been able to stabilize many people(s) anxiety in this time and have found that universal understanding/empathetic support is what we all need; and have thus been compelled to push it further with everyone we can".

"We can also potentially attest some of our comfort to the fact that we live in Israel. In Israel the general community has either LIVED war and/or through the ripple effects of the fear and terror it leaves behind. Due to the fact that many of Israelis have been bred within one form of War Trauma or another, I see that Corona is not impacting people here anywhere near as radically as other places. The Israeli reaction is not at all close to the panic of America. We are extremely grateful to be outside of that hysteria Cyclone. We are definitely concerned for America and the crumbling economy, the 3.5M people who have lost health care, and the waves of people who will perish and furthermore for the bigger affects that will wreak havoc through the US population for years to come. 

That said, it is already upon us, and we can only do what we can to better ourselves and help those around us in any which way we can." 

"Well, to state the obvious we are at home. Our creativity has skyrocketed, we are painting, sewing, gardening, reading, taking university classes again, taking new skill graphic/designing courses, and re-organizing and re-decorating our house daily. 

I am eager to see how much Art springs out of this pandemic. I can feel theres a huge wave. Ariel and I  are creating sustainable goods and re-thinking about our footprint on the world, and how we can help further."

 "To be frank, we are particular about our space so it is nice to keep it to ourselves in this time. We are able to stay with Schnitzel, Ariel’s gorgeous dachshund, and he, I tell you is definitely thriving in this! It is such a blessing to have a puppy during these times. 

We already cooked frequently but now it is a regular luxury and we are getting quite professional. Making much more elaborate meals and wine pairings. 

We are both not working currently, which is definitely a stress; yet as we  mentioned we are taking everything in stride and finding new creative solutions for our challenges." 

"I believe because Ariel and I have both seen, traveled, and been through a lot, we both already have a profound appreciation and gratuity for life. I do not think my or his perspective has changed monumentally, yet if at all, it would be for the better.

The “time of Corona” has been a means to connect with many people (In Israel and around the world) on a profound level. connecting with those we love in a sincere way. It forced me to realize that regardless of whatever previous issues we may have been dealing with regarding certain individuals; we ultimately want to make sure that everyone is staying happy, healthy, and safe. It made me look past my grudges and trivial petty arguments to make sure the people we care about are bottom-line-okay

As much proven by this Corona- it has been highlighted that one should never choose to panic. Fear, worry, and stress help nothing at all. 

We are using this time to centralize on ourselves, what truly matters to us, our progression and betterment as a humanity." 

"I was laughing when I heard “This is Mother Earth’s sending us all to our room to think about what we have done”. This comical “Grounding” of Mankind for destroying the Earth” is an interesting concept. 

To some extent I believe that's true, or rather entirely relevant. I was wondering what impact it would take for the world to rethink how we are brutalizing it. 

You may know the saying, “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”… Well I have learned that one can “shove the horse into the water and it can still refuse to drink.” I find this global lockdown to be the same situation." 

"I have faith and sincerely hope this will improve the global initiative to implement mental health, and global wellness into education.  If we are able to manage a way to make the global population understand how all of our behaviours (mental and physical) dictate the present state of earth then we can stimulate change, have a more promising present, and thus a more hopeful future for mankind. 

May this mandated rest make man reflect on ones’ impact on the world energetically in the here and now; and thus make for a better tomorrow." 

"Routine. I journal, meditate, do lots of reading, yoga, creative activities and we are creating/doing exponentially hilarious workouts (indoor rolller-skating and twerking included) . As I mentioned we have been working very efficiently to continue to progress ourselves forward creatively and intellectually. We have collaboratively created more Art pieces in “the time of Corona” than the entire year+ combined that we have shared a living space. We both believe that art will change the world. That Man’s true “Masterpiece” is himself and we strive to improve ourselves individually regardless of the outside stresses, no matter how ominous they may be. As Ari is a dentist and a designer he constructed a stunning fashionable medical grade face mask that is washable and chic. We are so proud of the innovation and are keen to share the sustainable art for a better tomorrow." 

"I can say that life still continues to surprise us. We can only control ourselves and thus our impact. One always has a choice on how to react and behave, and I choose to be hopeful and have faith in this. The planet needed this rest, may beautiful things blossom out of this darkness."

Photography: Eitan Riklis

Text: Leigh Snowden and Ariel Cohen

© Eitan Riklis Photography 2020


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