Believing in the power of art to cope with our dystopian reality, Teresa Xie (C ’22) has created a collection of film, music, literature, and comedy content to make quarantine more bearable for all affected students.
Appropriately named Quarantine Content, Teresa and co–founder Sam Fleming, who attends Columbia University, began the self–proclaimed “time capsule” about three weeks ago as a platform to both "connect and understand"—verbs that seem all too rare in this isolating, unpredictable time.
The blog’s written mission statement mirrors its playful, upbeat personality:
“...with all this chaos and these weird pockets of time, we thought it might be time to finally branch off from that playlist we've been listening to all year, or read a book for the first time in months (years?), or see what our friends are up to in the safety of their casas, or watch a film after finally finishing Love is Blind...”
Art, in Teresa’s understanding of it, is not limited to paintings in a gallery. Far from, art can be found anywhere and everywhere—from the memes that make you smile to the books that make you cry. Art is defined by feeling, which is why it is imperative in times of inertia. It keeps us alive.
“Businesses are crumbling, the economy is failing,” Teresa writes in her latest blog entry. “But despite it all, art is being created. Even when we think we are protagonists of a new Stephen King sci–fi novel—open–mic Zoom sessions, remote SNL skits, Dear April, and literary works prevail... And so maybe not as much is as lost as we once thought.”
The photographer for THE WALK Magazine, aspiring stand–up comedian, Marketing Director for up–and–coming Benny's Diner, and student of Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) and Fine Arts doesn’t subscribe to the pressure to be productive during this unprecedented health crisis. “A lot of people are talking about productivity right now. I’d rather be productive in a creative way, like finally listening to that album I’ve always wanted to listen to.” She intends to give others a platform to do the same.
Accordingly, the blog runs on submissions for content—and anything goes. Aside from content recommendations that include links to local bookstores and music podcasts as an effort to stimulate the compromised economy, the latest blog posts include a passed–down family shakshuka recipe and a nostalgic ode to Super Mario 64. Film, book, music track/album, and comedy submissions can be uploaded directly on the blog via the "Add" bar, and those interested in writing a personal essay can contact Teresa.
All contributors are included on the team page (to which the description is "Stream Clique by Kanye West"). “We like to give people funny titles too, like Sam and I are listed as ‘CEO,’ and a girl that wrote a book review is listed as 'Literary Curator,'” Teresa says while explaining the blog’s cooperative design and informal manner.
While its central purpose to promote the enjoyment of art in an otherwise monotonous time will be fully realized come the end of quarantine, the collection plans to outlive the shelter–in–place orders. Noting that there is always a need for vetted, relatable content, Teresa hopes that the blog will continue to be updated with submissions each week this summer.
“People have different ways of coping, and I think that a lot of people our age turn to art and music to make sense of things.” Teresa admits that she can’t be on the front lines helping people. Instead, she gives others a chance to escape during these often all–consuming times.
Movie: Pulp Fiction
Book: A Little Life
Comedian: Hannibal Buress
Music track: “Dave’s Song” by Whitney