Selfies Under Quarantine: Students Report Back to Rome (Video Episode)

After the fifth episode of the Selfies Under Quarantine series, here, at the Institute of Network Cultures, we discussed how such online courses, but also lectures and debates, could make more use of the video essay form. If there is such as thing as the ‘visual turn’ in education (in re: popular culture), away from mere reading (text)books and articles and discussing them in class, how can we use the increased visual literacy among students? Why only passively look at video conferencing sessions? Over the past months we heard enough about Zoom fatigue… Can we please talk back to the media, change the architectures, and get more involved to beat the boredom that comes with one-way, top-down webcasting? One possible way is to leave behind the PowerPoint sheet form and start to apply the Snap/TikTok video aesthetics to the world of theory, critique and reflection. Let’s not have fear of (media) freedom and leave behind the Gutenberg Galaxy. Let’s explore post-textual forms of thinking, research and critique.

Three students of Donatella Della Ratta’s selfie class (enrolled in the Selfies and Beyond: Exploring Networked Identities’class at John Cabot University/Rome, Spring 2020) were willing to produce small video assignments on the topic of the politics and aesthetics of the online self.  Thanks to Donatella for organizing the video essays and thanks to Briana Di Sisto, Natalia Stanusch and Giulia Villanucci!

In the coming period INC will focus more on video integration of critical content and networks. What does full video integration mean for book production? How can we take video beyond the trope of the archive (such as our own channel on Vimeo)? Can we think through the video? This is an ancient debate, but one is bound to become even more contemporary, and urgent, with the rise of memes, video witnessing (-> George Floyd case), emojis, short videos, data visualization and the tactical uses of drones.


Selfies in Quarantine by Briana Di Sisto

Alienation. A Digital Autoetnography by Natalia Stanusch (see also her related essay on the INC site about emojis, here)

Nine to Five, Quarantine Shift by Giulia Villanucci