I took this photograph in front of Centro IDEAL, the climate research center in Punta Arenas, where I lived for two months during my production of Behold The Ocean. For months, Punta Arenas had been in quarantine due to Covid-19. Leaving the house was only possible with a temporary permit that had to be requested online. If eligible, a QR code was sent to one’s email address that had to be shown to police and military staff controlling facilities and stores outside. One day before the expedition, quarantine was lifted, and Punta Arenas transitioned into Paso 2, the so-called phase of ‘transición.’ Chile’s ‘Paso á Paso’ plan for the pandemic entailed four steps of a different set of measurements: Cuarentena, Transición, Preparación, and Apertura Inicial. The stage for each of the 346 comunas in Chile was decided independently from neighboring ones, and changes would be implemented from one day to the next. In Chile’s quarantine, there was a maximum of permisos one could get per week:
Three weekly permisos for a three-hour window to go to the supermarket.
Three different permisos for a 30-minute window to walk a pet.
A couple of others for medical appointments or emergencies.
Since personal identification was mandatory in the digital system, people had to wait until the following week once the maximum amount of permisos was used.
Photograph on medium-format film, January 2021 during the global pandemic, Punta Arenas, Chile