For the cruise liner industry, the COVID-19 pandemic officially began on March 14. That’s when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “no sail” order on all cruise ships operating in US waters. At that point thousands of people were falling ill on various ships around the world, pitching the industry into damage control. From there, individual companies suspended cruises one by one, putting the industry on hold.
We spoke to a man named Jeff Birmingham about what it’s like being one of 99 people onboard a stationary cruise ship designed for 6,000. Jeff describes being alone for most of the day and how the industry is faring from an insider perspective.
Tell us about where you are at the moment. I’m offshore of Singapore in what I can only describe as the biggest ship parking lot I’ve ever seen. My contract is through February of next year and I’m not sure if I’ll touch dry land before then. As of now, we’ve been told not to expect that.
How does it feel to be on an almost empty cruise liner? It’s surreal. This ship was built to host thousands of people and I’ve spent years on this ship experiencing it as it was designed. But walking around now, the ship feels lifeless and empty. It’s in stasis waiting for the world to sort itself out so it can go back to what it’s designed to do. Everything is shut down, lights are off, furniture is covered up. It’s a ghost ship.
What do you do everyday? Is there enough work to keep you busy or do you get bored? I’m not really ever bored. My department usually has about 150 people but now it’s just me to deal with all the paperwork and inspections. It’s an overwhelming amount of work keeping the ship in the kind of condition it needs to stay in so it can go back into service. Plus, since there is very little to do socially the work basically takes all my time. I’ve been here over a month and it feels like I just got here.
Vaporflys (and prototypes of them) have been involved in nearly every major running victory and milestone since 2016, and for good reason: Research suggests the design of their soles gives runners at least 4% more energetic efficiency over shoes from competing brands.
“The runner runs the race, but the shoe enables him or her to run it faster for the same effort or ability,” Geoff Burns, a kinesiology researcher and pro runner, told Business Insider of Vaporflys. “So for two athletes of equal ability on race day, the one with the shoes is going to beat the one without the shoes.”
That has led some athletes sponsored by companies other than Nike to don Vaporflys in secret. In at least three competitions, non-Nike runners have worn “blacked-out” Vaporflys: shoes covered in black permanent marker to make it difficult to spot the Nike swoosh.
The 59th edition of the Venice Biennale, formerly scheduled for 2021, has been postponed to the following year. The international art show’s next iteration will now run for seven months, from April 23 to November 27, 2022, overlapping with the 15th edition of the contemporary art quinquennial Documenta in Kassel, Germany.
Cecilia Alemani, chief curator of New York City’s High Line, was tapped to curate the 59th Biennale. Among the confirmed names for the show so far are the multimedia artist Stan Douglas for the Canadian Pavilion; Latifa Echakhch for the Swiss Pavilion; and Zineb Sedira, the first artist of Algerian descent to represent France at the biennial.
Lululemon is apologizing after its art director shared a “bat fried rice” t-shirt design on social media that has been slammed online as “racist” and “anti-Asian” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Trevor Fleming, the senior global art director of Lululemon, shared a link on Instagram to the t-shirt design first shared by California artist Jess Sluder. (Fleming’s Instagram account has since been deleted.)
The design featured a Chinese take-out box decorated with bat wings and the words “no thank you” on the back. The shirt, titled “Bat Fried Rice,” was listed for purchase at $60 before it was taken down.