At this moment, billions of people are staying at home to escape the virus. What will the world be like? How do we respond to uncertainty and change? Everyone has their own answer. Subtropical Asia’s special project, #thelockinartists#, will focus on our artist friends during this significant moment in history, presenting their observations, thoughts and suggestions, and perhaps offering inspiration.

In#thelockinartists# episode three, we interviewed Berlin-based Chinese filmmaker Popo Fan, he is also an LGBT activist and a writer. While the epidemic is still raging in China and has not completely invaded Europe, Popo once encountered racist language attacks on the Berlin subway,the attacker directly called him “coronavirus”. Popo posted this incident on social media, which triggered a lively discussion among netizens. Learn more details on Popo ‘s Intagram account.

Subtropical Asia: What are the positive and negative effects of this pandemic on your life?

I have two film projects scheduled to shoot this spring, one in April, the other in May, both have to be frozen now. Fortunately, we haven’t booked the location and people, etc. But it’s such a shame because we looked forward to it so much.

On the other hand, I got much more time now to read, write and think. It’s always precious to have time to be with oneself nowadays. I cook a lot, have developed many cooking skills I never knew before.

How has your film production/queer artists community adapted to the pandemic?

I will supposedly be in a friend’s queer comedy film to play a role this summer. The costume designer asked us to measure ourselves, I had to honest to them that I don’t know if my size will stay the same, cause I’ve been eating 5 meals a day, without exercise. This is just one small example that as everything is unsure, this makes a lot of anxiety to people. I heard lots of my friends are consulting therapists.

What’s your daily routine right now? What kind of project are you working on during the quarantine time?

I stay at home most of the time. A Few days ago I could still go out for some fresh air, but now it’s getting worse because I have hay fever, now it’s the season.

I go shopping once a week in supermarkets. I always go with a very detailed, well-planned checklist, so I would not spend more than 10 minutes there. It works.

Meanwhile, I’ve been productive. I used to write a lot, but haven’t done that for a long time because of film projects. Now I’m back to my editors I used to work with. I wrote one piece for The Initium about hook up during pandemic:

I also got an offer from German TV to make 2 minutes video at home, it was an honor cause Wim Wenders was also among the list, about the project:

My video:

I was also helping a project for an American singers music video. To be announced.

Do you think art is useful or useless at a time of major human crisis like this pandemic, why? 

I do think it is useful, a small example that I put the racial issue into my video for the German TV program, hope this will raise the awareness of German public, which lacks of diversity of representationOn the other hand, I’ve seen how art helps people become comfortable with themselves. Imagine a world without films, music, books, how can we get over these grey days.

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