Loneliness – generations of isolation, wherever you go, every face wears a mask

When you've hit rock bottom for any reason, try and find a little ray of light. It's always in there somewhere.

Generacija izolacije išče izhod

"Loneliness – generations of isolation, wherever you go, every face wears a mask" intertwines an intimate confession by a pupil, Zoja, expert commentaries by a psychologist Dr. Kristijan Musek Lešnik, a clinical psychologist Dr. Tristan Rigler and an anthropologist Dr. Dan Podjed as well as freestyle inserts by Um&Kuna collective's freestyle show. It brings to light and explores the problems young people were facing during the C19 epidemic. Finishing elementary school, starting high-school and being denied traditional “rituals” (such as end-of-the-school-year dance), being schooled online, the loss of routine, stuck in virtual reality, depression, loneliness and in the end, return to a new normal – these are the topics the author and director Špela Kravogel and sound engineer Matjaž Miklič explore in the documentary radio play in three parts. The play was nominated for the Prix Europa 2022.

First part

Initial joy, felt when epidemic was declared and school was to be conducted online, soon turns to something less joyful. Finishing elementary school with a traditional end-of-school-year dance where everyone had to dance by themselves, with parents who could only be there virtually, starting high-school, going to a new school, new classmates, loss of motivation, supervision of working at home using cameras, the transition from a society of risk to a society of supervision.

Second part

A school is not just a place to acquire knowledge, in school youngsters should learn how to develop friendships, relationships and how to maintain them. Direct socialization enables young people to shape their self-image, while virtual socializing and media can create a fake reality. And because it's so difficult to maintain some structure while isolated, one's routine is disrupted, people become disoriented and that leads to mental health issues.

<< Recording - English translation>>

Third part

Long term quarantine, isolation leads to atomization of society. Closed off in our rooms like in isolation cells, which even in prison it is considered to be the strictest punishment, lonely, not knowing how much longer this is going to last. The sense of time is lost, we're inside timelessness. Maybe we'll start counting in a new way, but in any event there will be a return to a new normal, to a new, different world.

Talk show

The radioplay generated two open discussions:

Open discussion 1:

The radio play was followed by a talk show where host Žiga Bratoš welcomed experts in the field of youth mental health and the creators of the radio play. Participating were Nuša Crnkovič, forensic psychologist and head of the Nisi okej? Povej naprej national campaign against the stigmatization of mental health; Marjan Gorup, psychotherapist and headmaster of the Prežihov Voranc Primary School; statements by dr. Helena Jeriček Klanšček, National Institute of Public Health, with statistical data on the mental and other distress of young people, and Ksenija Lekić, NIJZ Celje, head of the "This is Me" counselling program for youth mental health; and the creators of the play, teenager Zoja Miklič, UM & KUNA Freestyle Show comprising Urh Mlakar and Igor Kuna, and directress Špela Kravogel.

Guests discussed the impact of pressing social problems, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, on the content of youth creativity and motivation, extending the theme of the documentary radio play to the problem of transition from secondary school to university and the plight of students. And more: how the growing mental and social hardships cannot be blamed solely on the pandemic, the educational and social role of teachers and how young people experience them, whether the crisis is deep-rooted or can we quickly return to normal, and the agency of informal education in helping young people. How to recognise mental health problems, and where to seek professional help?

Open discussion 2:

Psychologist and psychotherapist Dr Katarina Kompan Erzar in conversation with the creators and professional collaborators at the public listening of the documentary radio play Loneliness – generations of isolation at Radio play festival in Ljubljana. Interviewees: anthropologist Dr. Dan Podjed, psychologist Dr. Kristijan Musek Lešnik, director Špela Kravogel.

Isolation Generation, faces masked on all occasions.
I don't get up from my bed,
keeping slippers by my head,
from the kitchen, yells my dad.
Yells my dad, and stares at mama
I'm at school in my pyjama.
Bad breath, haven't washed my teeth
that's why dad is losing it,
easy terms become all hi-fi,
no connection on my wi-fi.
What to do? I wanna learn!
There's no focus, I can't learn!
It's all getting on my nerves.
Now I'm thinking, what a mess,
It's almost like I'm missing class.
Generation Isolation, faces masked across the nation.


Author of Literary Work • Špela Kravogel

Music • Um & Kuna Freestyle Show

Director and dramaturg • Špela Kravogel

Pupil Zoja • Zoja Miklič

Anthropologist • Dan Podjed

Psychologist • Kristijan Musek Lešnik

Musical performer (Um & Kuna Freestyle Show) • Urh Mlakar

Musical performer (Um & Kuna Freestyle Show) • Igor Kuna

Sound Engineer • Matjaž Miklič

Production • Radio Slovenija 3rd Program – Program Ars

Photographer • Sabrina Povšič Štimec