Quarantine Notes from Los Angeles

Thursday May 21st, 2020

Vancouver Biennale artists and curators live all over the world, spanning 6 continents. Today we share insights from Canadian-born multidisciplinary artist Cosimo Cavallaro. His colourful, larger-than-life LOVE YOUR BEAN 
installation was a public favourite of our 2014 – 2016 Biennale. We asked him to give us his perspective on this era of COVID-19 from his home in Los Angeles, California:


How are you spending your time these days?

I spend all of my days writing, thinking, cooking and taking long walks in my shower.

Is this experience shaping your art practice in any way?

It has definitely got me to go deeper into what is important to my life and more trusting of a cosmic order. This virus will pass like all other viruses but what stays are the things that are still hurting humanity.  We need to shift from competing with each other and help each other. The only way we know how to win is for the other to lose. No one wins if one loses.

What are you reading (and what do you recommend)?

I’m not reading. I suggest in this great time you listen to your voice: it will tell you your story. Your story is waiting for you.


Ideas, links, projects, or news you’d like to share?  

I just finished writing two scripts: RING AND RUN about a 62-year-old homeless man and his dog and JESUS IS WHERE about a schizophrenic 14-year-old boy who believes his penis is God.


What are you watching (and why do you recommend)? 

I don’t watch TV or movies. I’m interested in the forgotten people.

Music you’re listening to (and why do you recommend)? 

I’m listening to the sound of the wind, the clouds, the trees, the sun, the moon. I know that it has to be the loudest sound of force and friction but it is a silent elegance, transforming seamlessly, never seeing the beginning or the end.


How are things where you live? 

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

What’s life like in your city?  

I see the war on poverty claiming more lives each day.

How has COVID-19 impacted your sense of community?  

I can clearly see the weak minds from the strong minds.


What do you imagine for art, community, and the world as we rebuild together after this time passes? 

For me the bull sh*t is out of the way and what matters is what humans are here to experience. TRUST the human-to-human virus.We all entered this world the same way. We were delivered into the hands of a stranger who we will never know, but we will never forget that first touch experience. An unconditional care and concern is recorded in our fiber of being. That TRUST we will search for our entire life and only when we find it, will we feel secure. I don’t believe the human being can live without touch. Without touch, life would just be a thought. We can awake from our dreams but not from life.  Life is an ongoing experience interrupted by sleep. If we don’t trust another person, we will slowly die.In my most painful moments I remember my mother’s hand holding my body as all of my pain dissolved into her hands. LOVE is where the self is not. There’s no science that can substitute love. People need to be touched; it is the human experience. We also want to reach out and touch someone’s soul with a song, a poem, a painting, a dance, a performance, to give back the love we have received when we arrived here.


I WAS HERE in mind and body.


Cosimo Cavallaro
IG: @cosimocavallaroart


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