Instead here is a doodle from Henry Jay Kamara's reading of his book 'Universal Spirit'. This experience made me re-think digital live experiences. Something that has become the norm since corona. Sitting in on this reading was really moving. The unintended sounds that creep in, such as the ambulance whizzing by, the NHS clap and the occasional sentences being repeated. It's all these unintended bits that made this reading feel so real and intimate.
I found a similar form of rawness in Instagram lives, with all their technical failures. And how people respond when they happen. Gives some human reality to this often over-polished digital vision. You can't edit much when it's live!
What's interesting is that I feel like I have slowly started to regain my personality back with each of these virtual events that I attend. A reminder of the community and interests that I have outside of my parent's flat. And this thought is no news. My friend Barney wrote about it for the last submission round, it was mentioned a lot during The Save Latin Village fundraising fiesta (on zoom) and I am sure there are many more examples out there.
Even though the quarantine in Vienna has (sort of) been lifted, my mental quarantine still remains. In my case, because of the fear of infecting my parents. I always wonder if I would be as cautious if I was living alone. But another point is that I'm not sure whether the quarantine was lifted because it was safe or because they needed the economy to return to some normality. It feels like the second option right now. Either way, I think it will take a while before I feel comfortable mixing with a large group of people again.
A few months ago if you would have told me the value of an online community, I wouldn't have paid much attention to it. But now, when I can't choose where I go and with who I am on a daily basis, these online communities have turned into my saviours. A way to stay sane and feel like I am still part of the outside world we stepped away from, 2,3 months ago.
It will be interesting to see how these communities continue in the coming months. And what new friends, collectives, groups may form out of them. People who would have never met had these strange circumstances not occurred. Speaking of which, I even had a first Google Hangouts meet with someone whose work I admire. This is something I would have never initiated, had this new online reality become such a norm to me. And the chat was great! Much better than any email, instagram or website could have been. A conversation can often tell you more about a person, than how they present themselves or their work online. It breaks down any judgement you may have formed in your head, because in that moment you are looking at each other through a screen and talking, you can really get a sense for who the other person is.
Unlike social media, these virtual live experiences and interactions give me no anxiety. Maybe this is because of all their imperfections. Or perhaps that it's easier to get a feel for the mood and the energy of a person. To judge them less quickly. To get out of the echo chamber that is easily created in your head when passively scrolling.
This week I feel that I was embracing the present a little bit more.
I haven't been thinking much about all the things I miss from the old world. I'm not sure what triggered this way of thinking. Maybe it's all these digital live experiences? Or maybe it's this book I've been reading (The Power of Now - ha!) or maybe i've just accepted this new reality? Or perhaps I have slowly started to let go of some of the prejudice I had towards the digital / virtual format because I found a genuine way to experience it?
Who knows - I may have just been on the upward curve on my corona mood swing chart. Let's see what the next weeks bring.
- Celebrate my grandpas 96th birthday with him.