Dossier 1: Quarantine edition

Quiz: Corona Cribs

Now that all of our social lives run through screens, we get a unique insight into the private lives of people that we usually only see in public spaces. Through video calls for work, we see our colleagues in their natural habitats: their homes. Maybe you’ve started seeing your coworkers in a completely different way after seeing their junk-strewn floors or kitschy golden walls. Home schooling means that the children and pets of our teachers might sneak past in the background. Video calls often force us to share parts of our private lives that we may not feel comfortable sharing with our colleagues or our students. While often used in a playful way, Julia Burnham, vice president of University Affairs at AMS UBC in Canada wrote on Twitter that the virtual backgrounds Zoom is offering can be a shield for low-income students to keep their living situations confidential. Financial inequality is much less visible in the classroom or on the schoolyard than in a home situation

And it’s not only our office spaces that are moved to our homes. In countries that are in full lockdown, television studios have remained empty and popular TV presenters have started recording their shows from home. Until recently, we made a clear distinction between vloggers, with their pared down low quality productions, and ‘traditional TV-celebrities’. This pandemic is finally showing the similarities between the two, since their situations have become even more similar. Entire camera teams, sound engineers, director’s rooms, detailed elaborate scripts and a clapping audience are less common in current comedy or daily news shows. TV stars are now filming their own shows from home, often with the help of family members, and video call with guests. All of this makes the broadcast more spontaneous and sincere, making you feel like you get to know a presenter in the same way that you did with vloggers.

Funny enough, this is in line with a trend that has been going on on Instagram for a while now. The platform became known for its choice of filters, resulting in a specific aesthetic. But over the past year, strictly curated feeds have lost likes. Instead, people want to see photos with an unfiltered and realistic atmosphere: no make-up selfies, messy looks, crazy faces, and unedited images. It would be interesting if, after the lockdown, those shiny TV studios will be replaced by cluttered living rooms more often.

Have you been watching a lot of television lately? Take our ‘Corona Cribs’ quiz and see if you can guess which celebrities these cribs belong to.