In Lauren McKeon’s Instagram videos, posted each day since the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order took effect on March 17, I’ve been watching a red poppy sprout and bloom in a green pot.
The pot sits on a dock in Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor, where McKeon lives on a boat alongside a floating community of artists and maritime trade workers. Her lo-fi videos—clips and stills cut together on her phone—offer a slice of what these days, surreal for all of us, look like on the watery edge of Richardson Bay.
“I wasn’t thinking of them as an extension of my practice, but I need an outlet,” she says of the one-minute videos, which feature food preparation, images of video calls to friends, water life and skateboarding sessions in empty parking lots. The word “coronavirus” is never spoken. Her (sometimes ironic) soundtracking choices are the only nods to the ongoing pandemic: Daniel Johnston’s “Happy Time,” Norma Tanega’s “Don’t Touch,” Dead Moon’s “It’s O.K.” and Eartha Kitt’s “Monotonous.”