Transformations and continuities in the Covid-19 times
From my bedroom window (and the current work environment), I can see the climate changes of spring. Transforming and enigmatic times. The meaning of this season, which symbolizes joy, is transformed into a real sensation, with the help of the sun and nature. “In the neighboring houses, I see people sunbathing daily. Children play for a few moments and continue to put their rainbow drawings on the windows. Some people are exercising on their patios and terraces. It is possible to listen to conversations and good laughs during cold nights. It’s time for adaptation” (excerpt from field diary, April 13, 2020).
“I was interrupted by my own curiosity. At Praceta Amândio Ferreira Pinto, some neighbors left their homes with musical instruments and, respecting the distance of 2 meters of protection, sang “Happy Birthday to You”. One of the residents was celebrating another year of life. Social isolation did not prevent them from finding a way to congratulate him”. While I “invent”, trying to write about an existing world, the people, who also live in Praceta Amândio Ferreira Pinto, are looking for ways to continue their lives and their bonds of sociability (excerpt from field diary, April 15, 2020).
What arouses my curiosity at this point is that we see technological mobilization capturing our existence even more. The inherent complexity of the human being is taking other forms, as it really should be. People are more present in the virtual environment and try to portray their daily lives in social isolation. In digital networks, there are countless requests to “stay at home”. The media, concerned with constantly reporting the advance of the Covid-19 pandemic, try to entertain their publics. Festivals and musical performances are constantly announced, as was the case of Varandas, which happened in Portugal on March 29, and the YouTube lives that are happening in Brazil. In Italy, videos of musical performances with the song Bella Ciao, symbol of the Italian Resistance against fascism in World War II, are constantly posted. During the transformations experienced in the daily life of contemporary societies, we are faced with continuous changes, as explained by Perniola (2005).
Italy and social isolation in postmodernity remind me of Gianni Vattimo (1992) and his reflections on a possible “transparent society” in postmodernity. We live in a society of widespread communication, but we have spaces to expose our opinions and show how we are dealing with the contemporary changes. The Covid-19 pandemic brought a certain clarity in relation to the other spaces we have to occupy. I see videos posted on social networks with physical exercises and photos posted by people who are reading their favorite books on their home balconies. Pages on Instagram, such as Visit Portugal and even the City of Braga started posting photos of other people, reinforcing the request: “stay at home”. The subsequent hashtag always turns on the light of hope: “everything will be fine”. Today, April 15th, artist Banksy posted on Instagram. A bathroom occupied by rats that marked his quarantine days on the walls. The anonymous artist, known worldwide for his work on the streets, is also at home, in an adaptive work process. Are there other spaces and other forms of occupation, without neglecting the essentiality of each being?
Maffesoli, M. (1997). A transfiguração do político a tribalização do mundo. Porto Alegre: Sulina.
Perniola, M. (2005). Sex appeal do inorgânico. São Paulo: Studio Nobel.
Vattimo, G. (1992). A sociedade transparente. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água.
By Alessandra Nardini
Braga, April 17, 2020