Covid-19. Documentation of a collective communication process

idea / concept | editing alexandra reill
production kanonmedia | vienna 03-06/2020

On March 15, 2020 exit restrictions were imposed in Austria, which in their entirety resembled a complete quarantine; Shops were closed, events were banned, and a complete shutdown of activities in the country was initiated – a situation that has not occurred since the 1940s.

There was a feeling of enormous uncertainty in a great many people, you could say they felt a shock. This had an immediate impact on people’s communication and behavior.

Also on facebook, these changes were very clearly visible, and the kind of postings of many facebook users were very different from those before the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis. Alexandra Reill was able to notice that also in herself.

At the beginning, Covid-19 and the shutdown were issues that replaced all other areas of life, but the threat of economic slumps followed immediately. The government’s promise that “nobody will be left behind – cost it whatever” led economically affected people to mainly focus on bridging help programs. No one could have suspected how persistently this issue was reflected in communications, and still is; given the hurdles and delays that have been following for months; given the extent of the impact that the shutdown has had on all areas of society, and is likely to have in 2021 or beyond.

The shutdown also had and does have a partially massive impact on the social and psychological-emotional state of mind of many people, something that was and still can be seen in the context of the communication methods taking place on facebook.

Alexandra Reill decided to observe and record these processes insofar as she began to document her own postings in a chronology of the contents and formulations, as well as those of others, in whose posting threads she suddenly became increasingly involved which was not the case before. Originally, it was planned to document the period from the beginning to the end of the shutdown. However, since the latter took place in steps and continues to take place, as it was and will be divided over months; and since Covid-19 with all its consequences is an ongoing issue, the process will continue until the impression is given that this crisis has been overcome; whatever that may mean in concrete terms.

Possibly, this observation process is suitable for the publication of an edited documentation.

Covid-19. Documentation of a collective communication process virtually exhibited through

— noemata #biennaleNO 2020 / gol / nor / int / 20-21 / 20-