Zoom (during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic)
Following the onset of Covid-19, the video and audio-conferencing application Zoom quickly grew to be one of the most popular and widespread mechanisms for being with others, both socially and professionally. However, the now ubiquitous and all-too-recognizable grids of human faces on Zoom tend to eclipse its less visible but still powerful underlying technological structures. Its automated 'editing' system, for example, highlights and isolates individual speakers, making it impossible to do things like singing together, or experiencing simultaneous social banter.
Throughout our own conversations over Zoom during the 2020 pandemic, with Selena based in New York and Alyssa in Liverpool, we began to explore the ways in which this particular platform was affecting us on intellectual, emotional and bodily levels. While screen-based interactions have become increasingly commonplace over the past few decades, our everyday use of (and dependence on) this medium during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic had noticeably intensified.
We wanted to make this familiar mode of communication strange again, to disrupt the presence of Zoom as a transparent medium, and to experiment with this digital platform as a field site where our engagements with screen-centered technologies could teach us to see, hear and feel in new ways.