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

 

 

June 18, 2020

 

June 17, 2020

 

June 16, 2020

 

June 15, 2020

 

June 13/14, 2020

 

June 12, 2020

 

June 11,  2020

 

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June 9,  2020

 

 

June 8, 2020

 

June 6/7, 2020

 

June 5, 2020

 

June 4, 2020

 

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June 2, 2020

 

May 30, 31, June 1, 2020

 

May 29, 2020

 

May 28, 2020

 

May 27, 2020

 

May 26, 2020

 

May 25, 2020

 

May 23/24, 2020

 

May 22, 2020

 

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May 18, 2020

 

May 16/17, 2020

 

May 15, 2020

 

May 14, 2020

 

May 13, 2020

 

May 12, 2020

 

May 11, 2020

 

May 9/10, 2020

 

May 8, 2020

 

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May 6, 2020

 

May 5, 2020

 

May 4, 2020

 

May 2/3, 2020

 

April 30, 2020

 

April 29, 2020

 

April 28, 2020

 

April 27, 2020

 

April 25/26, 2020

 

April 24, 2020

 

April 23, 2020

 

April 22, 2020

 

April 21, 2020

 

April 20, 2020

 

April 18/19, 2020

 

April 17, 2020

 

April 16, 2020

 

April 15, 2020

 

 

April 14, 2020

 

April 11/12/13, 2020

 

April 10, 2020

 

April 9, 2020

 

April 8, 2020

 

April 7, 2020

 

April 6, 2020

 

April 4/5, 2020

 

April 3, 2020

 

April 2,  2020

 

April 1, 2020

 

March 31, 2020

 

March 30, 2020

 

March 28/29, 2020

 

March 27, 2020

 

March 26, 2020

 

 

March 25, 2020

 

March 24, 2020

 

March 23, 2020

 

March 21/22, 2020

 

March 20, 2020

 

March 19, 2020

 

March 18, 2020

 

March 17, 2020

 

March 16, 2020

 

 

March 14/15, 2020

 

March 13, 2020

 

 

March 12, 2020

 

March 11, 2020

 

March 10, 2020

 

March 9, 2020

 

March 7/8, 2020

 

March 6, 2020

 

March 5, 2020

 

 

March 4, 2020

 

February 27, 2020

 

February 26, 2020

 

February 25, 2020

 

Februar 24, 2020

 

February 10, 2020

 

February 1/2, 2020

 

January 28, 2020

 

January 23, 2020

 

April 2nd, 2020 — Rosa Mercedes / 02
Interface

Some basics from the Strike MoMA site: “Campaigns, actions, and letters chip away at the regime’s facade from the outside. Inside, every time workers organize, defy the boss, care for a coworker, disrespect secrecy, or enact other forms of subversion, cracks are created in the core. Cracking and chipping, chipping and cracking. As the walls that artificially separate the museum from the world collapse, we reorient away from the institution and come together to make plans. Let us strike in all the ways possible to exit from the terms of the museum so we can set our own.”

 

via Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”

 

Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”

 

Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”

September 7th, 2020

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”

August 21st, 2020
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