Don’t Take Them for Granted


Voiced-over by Benedict Cumberbatch, Don’t Take Them for Granted is a collective call to recognize the labor of the COVID-19 global pandemic’s frontline workers and, most specifically, the Romanian healthcare staff, otherwise invisible in the public space.

The Lives Who Saved Ours

The project was built from images and texts captured between March and August 2020. The photographs and writings were produced from over 70 hours documenting the fight against COVID-19, captured right in the heart of the intensive care units of Bucharest’s main public hospitals: Institutul Național de Boli Infecțioase “Prof. Dr. Matei Balș” Hospital, Spitalul Militar ROL 2, and Spitalul Universitar de Urgență. 

Don’t Take Them for Granted, was first presented online as a short film at the UNFINISHED 2020 festival, and then transformed into a large-scale public installation in George Enescu Square in Bucharest, open to the public for two weeks.

In a social context that has a very hierarchical view of the medical world, Don’t Take Them for Granted focuses especially on the enormous routine effort hidden under the layers of our medical system. Too often eclipsed behind the doctors is an army of labor-intensive work (nurses, porters, assistants, cleaners, interns, technicians, clerks, couriers, guards…) who, in this time of violent need, deserve much more than being taken for granted. We chose to set up the installation in a public square to bring the reality behind the medical gates in the middle of society and to encourage conversations about how, only by taking care of each other, can we get over this.

Beyond this gesture, Don’t Take Them for Granted also aims to tie very human and relatable bonds between the medical staff and the rest of society. Countering the severe isolation forced by this crisis, this project connects people using the strongest and most direct kinds of bonds: family relationships. Remembering that we are all somebody’s child, for instance, is a very simple and accessible idea, yet, on a deeper level, it makes us envision each other as a network of invisible dependencies, rather than as a single person. In this kind of emergency, we desperately need such a level of community awareness and empathy.

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