Co Experiments: Blending Quarantine Blues into Design

After the first few months of quarantine, the ‘positive thinking and patience’ phase had ended for most of us. We admitted that we were in despair and needed help. Each one of us held onto a hobby, a dream, a hope that would sail us through this storm. Eve and Blu, a pair of passionate designers from Bangkok, Thailand, found their quarantine lifeboat through Co Experiments. 

Eve (Onicha Wanitchakorn) is a designer at Moving Brands in San Francisco, while Blu (Paveena Klaisuban) works for ServiceNow, a software company in Silicon Valley. The lockdown hit them with a host of emotions like frustration, anxiety, loneliness, and confusion. Being 8614 miles away from home, it was harder for them to get through days of horrible news and negativity.

What started as a simple ritual of checking up on each other inspired them to channel their emotions into a creative project. Eve and Blu together founded Co Experiments, a platform where they share designs reflecting the struggle of being locked indoors and isolated from one’s community.

They wanted to make posters, get published in newspapers, and host a public event for their art. But considering the need for social distancing, they shifted their plans to the online space. They started experimenting with ink, water, oil, candles, brushes, papers, and whatever supplies they could catch hold of in their home. 

Eve and Blu started with remote collaboration but eventually decided to meet in person to give their best to the project. While managing their full-time jobs, they chalked out time for Co Experiments during weekends and after work hours. 

As they started surveying their ideas, Eve and Blu grappled with finding the right approach to tell their story. They were inspired by the thought that even though we all feel helpless, we are in this together. They brought together people’s voices to convey the idea that many of us are sailing in the same boat.

Their designs express distance, constraint, and isolation through nostalgic photography. They want to address experiences like losing track of time and craving human contact and affection. In their experiment, they use the liquid medium to portray the anxiety and powerlessness that we feel about the present and the future. Their ink flows like the fear that spreads and haunts us in the face of a global pandemic. 

“I’m not a good planner,” says Eve, “…especially in small details. I always plan for a big picture and timing. I would want to let things go with the flow. I just have fun with it. But I’m sure that in this situation, we need a person like Blu to prepare, to keep everything on track, and to reach our goal faster.”

Blu shines in a different area. While Eve is good at initiating ideas and improvising on them, Blu is the one who makes them concrete. She puts concepts into words. “I’m always worried about the outcomes and perfection. I’m always afraid to fail. But Eve taught me to focus on what we have accomplished so far, and just enjoy our journey,” says Blu. “To us, art and self-observation are a form of self-care,” they say. With Blu’s planning and Eve’s improvisation, they believe they are an excellent duo. 

None of us know where the pandemic is leading us. We know that our lives will never be the same, but we are yet to catch a glimpse of what the future holds for us. We are still healing from the initial shock and despair that covid brought. While we fight through this situation, people like Eve and Blu spread positivity and inspire people to vent their emotions through art.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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