Image of exhaustion

A photograph of nurse Elena Pagliarini, fast asleep, after completing one of her shifts at 6 a.m. was taken last week in the emergency room of the hospital of Cremona, a particularly badly affected town in Lombardy. Francesca Mangiatordi, a doctor in the same clinic, took the picture and shared it on Facebook (“I want this photo to be an invitation to help: stay at home, respect the rules, because that’s the only way we can stay together”). This is another straightforward picture of the crisis, another entry in the corona iconography, whose persuasiveness is a direct result of its immediate intelligibility and universality. The view of Pagliarini’s head and shoulders fast asleep on a work desk in full IC kit speaks volumes of the current condition of Italian hospitals. Nonetheless, the picture could actually have been taken at any other time, in any other comparable health emergency situation in the expanded present. It speaks a universal language and would be the perfect image for a “mythological” reading à la Roland Barthes. It should not be forgotten, however, that this picture, which may be considered an easy target for generalization and normalization, is surrounded and overwritten by hundreds of other hospital pictures that are currently penetrating the online forums coming from the “hotspots” of the corona crisis; as well as by numerous newspaper articles, Facebook messages and podcasts from nurses and doctors who repeatedly describe their experience of exhaustion and despair in terms such as “war” and “tsunami” (which then may trigger the sensationalist routines of the “Bild” newspaper and other tabloid media). Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this, it is advisable to listen to a podcast such as the one with lung specialist Fabiano di Marco from the University of Milan, interviewed after three weeks on duty without a break (published on March 16 by the New York Times Daily). TH

 

March 17th, 2020, 02 / Rosa Mercedes
Interface

Short notice: Jean-Luc Godard, live interview with Lionel Baier (écal/HEAD, Geneva) via Instagram, April 7, 2020, 2.30 pm! Now also available here.

April 7th, 2020, Tom

Brought to our attention by Derek Gregory via his resourceful Geographical Imaginations blog: an open call for contributions to the “Corona Notebooks” of Warscapes, a recommended independent online magazine “that provides a lens into current conflicts across the world.” Warscapes is looking for short, 2-3 minute videos “of yourself thinking about this pandemic, maybe accessing a previous memory, maybe reporting on an injustice, maybe narrating a sweet fragment from your daily life, maybe recounting a second chance that this pandemic gave you, maybe telling us about a loved one you reconnected with, maybe you’ve seen a movie or read a book that was powerful, maybe telling us about having the illness. The tone, the tale, the genre and the language is yours to choose. There is an overwhelming amount of news and information but we will together weave an emotionally vibrant and artistic tapestry.”

April 3rd, 2020, Tom

Almost too good to be true in these times of pandemically enforced streaming: Means TV claims to be “the world’s first worker-owned, post-capitalist streaming service,” “entirely funded by people like you.” It has “a library of films, documentaries, and shows with new programming added all the time,” as well “live weekly shows covering news, the working class, gaming and sports. All available to subscribers for $10/month across desktop, mobile and smart TV devices like Roku, Fire and Apple TV. No advertisements or product placements. No corporate backers or VC cash ever.” See also the respective article at Hyperallergic.

April 1st, 2020, Tom
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