The Coronamovie: how the pandemic unfolds (in 36+ frames)

In a totalizing news situation as we are experiencing now, the scope a daily newspaper’s editorial staff for decision-making is on the one hand intensely constricted, while on the other seems to grow infinitely. With just one topic for weeks (and probably months to come), which affects the whole world, every area of life, every department, everyone involved in producing a newspaper – reporters, photographers, illustrators, columnists, layout artists, typesetters, etc. – appear to know exactly what is to be done. The front pages of the French daily newspaper Libération have always been a model of effective communication design. They have always allowed considerable creative leeway. This is perhaps a particularly good place to seek evidence of editorial determination in navigating through the extremely wide range of possibilities to identify the most urgent theme and its most poignant image to frame the day as it hits the – analogue and digital – newsstand. It is exemplary, how the single topic of the corona crisis is represented by the variety of its cover pages over the course its various editions. Its first cover story hesitant treating the first outbreak of the epidemic in Wuhan on January 23, 2020, then sporadically, and since March 9, uninterrupted, issue after issue, until April 22, when a title story on the potential consequences of petrol politics introduced a subject not directly related to COVID-19).  It results in a quasi-filmic movement, a sequence, a dramaturgy. The attention and interests, attuned to the expectations of the readers and to the political-journalistic agenda-setting of the newspaper, track the pandemic developments in a day-by-day rhythm. Its coverage began with reports from China (four front pages in January and February), followed by those of neighbouring Italy (two covers) and directly accompanied by a focus on the preparations in France, the impact on the financial markets and the economy in general (three covers), the government’s reactions and President Macron’s decrees of a state of emergency (four cover pictures). This continued until the front-page editorial team held their sights on the situation in hospitals and conditions for medical staff and the alterations in everyday life and the effects of the lockdown in economic and socio-psychological terms. A national event such as the death of “Asterix” illustrator Uderzo (on 25 March) brought forth a cover picture immediately placing Uderzo’s visual language at the service of corona reporting with Obelix’s menhir mutating into a virus. One could almost surmise a self-reflexive gesture by the Libé editorial staff and its visual experts, a reference to the consecutive pictorial narrative of the pandemic, the very bande dessinée, that continues here daily. TH

 

 

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April 2nd, 2020, 02 / Rosa Mercedes
Interface

Paul B. Preciado on Indigenous models for “stopping the world,” via Artforum: “Every culture has invented procedures for isolation, for fasting, for breaking the rhythms of eating, sexual activity, and production. Those caesuras serve as techniques for modifying subjectivity, activating a process that disrupts perception and feeling and can ultimately generate a transformation, a new way of becoming. Certain languages of Indigenous shamanism call this process ‘stopping the world.’ And that is literally what happened during the Covid-19 crisis. The capitalist mode briefly stopped. […] we could say (drawing on the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s analysis of Tupi rituals and shamanic practices) that they usually include at least three stages. In the first, the subject is confronted with their mortality; in the second, they see their position in the trophic chain and perceive the energetic connections that unite all living things; in the final stage, they radically modify their desire, which will perhaps allow them to transform, to become someone else.”

July 26th, 2020, Tom

On the occasion of the film festival “Reconstructing Realities,” the Broadway Cinematheque in Hong Kong will show the film “How to live in FRG” (1990) from Harun Farocki.
The screening will take place on Saturday, July 11, 2:30 pm (local time) at the Goethe Institut Hong Kong.
Online booklet: https://bit.ly/bcXForum50

Reconstructing Realities – A Film Programme to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Berlinale Forum

The screening will be followed by the talk “Harun Farocki’s Imitations of Life” with Doreen Mende, co-founder of the Harun Farocki Institut.
Time: Jul 11, 2020 04:00 pm Hong Kong SAR / 10:00 am Berlin time
Language: English

The talk will be held on Zoom, registration here: https://forms.gle/tyLfKLwBYNUutoLz6
After registration, you will receive an email with the link and the login information to join the talk.

https://www.goethe.de/ins/cn/de/sta/hon/ver.cfm?fuseaction=events.detail&event_id=21884136&

July 8th, 2020, HaFI

Avery F. Gordon, in an interview conducted by Katherine Hite and Daniela Jara in Memory Studies:  “Non-participation is one modality of what I call being in-difference. Being in-difference is a political consciousness and a sensuous knowledge, a standpoint and a mindset for living on better terms than we’re offered, for living as if you had the necessity and the freedom to do so, for living in the acknowledgement that, despite the overwhelming power of all the systems of domination which are trying to kill us, they never quite become us. They are, as Cedric J Robinson used to say, only one condition of our existence or being. Running away, living apart, squatting, communing, feral trading, bartering, self-managed currencies, human, debt, labour, knowledge strikes, boycott, divestment, non-policing, throwing your shoe at an occupying president: the ways of non-participation in the given order of things are many, varied and hard to summarize. And they are taken up for a variety of reasons, including the failure or irrelevance of states and the US–European post–World War II social movement model.”

July 7th, 2020, Tom
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