SOLUS: A Connected Isolation

SOLUS: A Connected Isolation

Mat Dalgleish and Francesca Steele

The Covid-19 pandemic has required us to stay inside our respective homes (in Central and North East England) for almost three months (March-June 2020). Our experiences have been eerie (in the sense of hauntology theorist Mark Fisher): simultaneous failures of absence and presence brought on by a collision of physical isolation and (online) hyper-connectivity; the latter providing sustenance (a means to acquire food and medicine) but also facilitating new expectations of constant remote availability, pseudo-contact and the pseudo-social, and of not going to work while working more than ever. If the loss of linear time is hardly noticeable at first, as old routines fall away and extended demands erode downtime, the creeping sense of detemporalization (a timeless limbo) ultimately pervades. Notions of the “home” are particularly affected. While there is disagreement about the meaning of home (from disciplines as diverse as architecture, archaeology, sociology, and philosophy), the home as a place of safety (its walls protecting the interior from external dangers) has been eroded by three months inside (its boundaries transgressed only by light, sound, data packets, and occasional deliveries) until distinctions between protection, comfort and confinement become unreliable and fuzzy.

SOLUS is a transient online installation (viewable by live stream) that captures, processes, and composites two streams of live images and sounds (outside-in and outside-in perspectives, respectively) from our homes turned home/workspaces. The images, positioned side-by-side as a kind of double portrait, can be similar moment-to-moment, but inevitably diverge over time as they layer and accumulate. By contrast, the live soundtrack utilizes bi-directional convolution (each audio stream is used as both corpus and target for the other) to reveal only sonic similarities between the two sites. The installation is at once: an aggregated externalization (making public) of interior spaces; a puncturing of architectural and sensory boundaries; a gauzy document and juxtaposition of individual practices; and a reflection on shared experiences (as friends for almost two decades) around time, space and distance. We are particularly interested in how, over an extended period of unusually complete occupancy, spaces become imprinted with our traces.


Partially funded by the University of Wolverhampton. Thanks to Matt Bellingham, Richard Burn and Sarah Whitfield for their help and advice.  


Open a desktop/laptop web browser (Chrome and Firefox are tested and recommended) and navigate to: and click to view the live stream. An additional, higher quality audio feed can be opened in another browser tab (at the same time as the first) if desired: see the live stream for details. We recommend that good quality headphones are used to experience the installation.

Installation Link:

Live stream will be at:

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