Online Lecture on Pandemic Storytelling: Jens Schröter/Christoph Ernst and Monika Pietrzak-Franger
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 7:00pm
Jens Schröter and Christoph Ernst (University of Bonn): Data Visualizations and Narrative Strategies in Social Imaginaries of the Corona PandemicCopyright: © Jens Schröter & Christoph Ernst
In our talk we analyze data visualizations and correlated narrations of the Corona pandemic with regard to conflicting imaginaries of the social implications of the crisis. We ask how data visualizations and correlated narrative patterns support imaginaries of social order. Of special interest are explicative visualizations of various possible future developments of the pandemic, leading to conflicting and contested ‘futures’ of the social implications of COVID-19.
Jens Schröter, Prof. Dr., is chair for media studies at the University of Bonn since 2015. Since 4/2018 director (together with Anja Stöffler, Mainz) of the DFG-research project “Van Gogh TV. Critical Edition, Multimedia-documentation and analysis of their Estate” (3 years). Since 10/2018 speaker of the research project (VW foundation; together with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gramelsberger; Dr. Stefan Meretz; Dr. Hanno Pahl and Dr. Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle) “Society after Money – A Simulation” (4 years). Director of the VW-Planning Grant “How is Artificial Intelligence Changing Science?” (Start: 1.5.2020, 1 Year, Preparation of Main Grant); Summer 2017: Senior-fellowship IFK Vienna, Austria. Winter 2018: Senior-fellowship IKKM Weimar. Summer 2020: Fellowship, DFG special research area 1015 „Muße“, Freiburg. Recent publications: Medien und Ökonomie, Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2019; Zukünftige Medien – Eine Einführung, Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2020 (with Christoph Ernst) Visit: www.medienkulturwissenschaft-bonn.de / www.theorie-der-medien.de / www.fanhsiu-kadesch.de
Jens Schröter and Christoph Ernst (University of Bonn): Data Visualizations and Narrative Strategies in Social Imaginaries of the Corona PandemicCopyright: © Christoph Ernst
Christoph Ernst, PD Dr., is a research associate within the project "Van Gogh TV. Multimedia Documentation and Analysis of their Legacy" (Prof. Anja Stöffler & Prof. Dr. Jens Schröter) funded by the German Reserach Foundation (DFG) at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Bonn. Main research interests: Diagrammatic reasoning & media aesthetics of information visualization; theories of tacit knowledge & digital media, esp. interface theory and artificial intelligence; media theory & media philosophy, esp. media and imagination. Selected publications: Diagrammatik-Reader. Grundlegende Texte aus Theorie und Geschichte (ed. with Birgit Schneider & Jan Wöpking), Berlin: De Gruyter 2016, Zukünftige Medien – Eine Einführung, Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2020 (with Jens Schröter), Diagramme zwischen Metapher und Explikation – Studien zur Medien- und Filmästhetik der Diagrammatik, Bielefeld: transcript 2020 (in print). Visit: www.christoph-ernst.com
Monika Pietrzak-Franger (University of Vienna): (In)Visible Pandemics: COVID-19 and Visual Storytelling
The impact of infectious diseases on cultures, societies, economies, languages and media has been explored by scholars across disciplines. Needless to say, the stories we tell about an illness or a pandemic influence not only the ways in which we conceptualize the causative organism but also how we fathom the consequences of its transmission. It is especially in times of convergence culture and unprecedented (digital) connectivity that they gain in poignancy due to the unparalleled scale and speed of their spread. What is particularly significant about this pandemic, next to the infodemic that it has been accompanied by, is its extraordinary (trans-cultural) medial visibility: the visual storytelling practices that it has generated (and necessitated).
My talk offers a tentative contribution to current discussions of the visual storytelling in times of corona. It explores the uneasy relationship between the necessity of making diseases visible, the mechanisms of legal and visual censorship, and the overall ethics of viewing and spectatorship, including the effects of media visibility on the perception of particular ‘marked’ bodies. More specifically, taking into consideration select press reports, it inspects these in a cultural-historical context, and draws attention to the variety of ways in which the pandemic has (dis)continued some of the tendencies in visual storytelling accompanying the spread of infectious diseases. What is more, it spotlights certain omissions, absences and blank spaces that have, paradoxically, been at the core of this visual overproduction, in order to discuss some of their socio-cultural implications. In this, and adopting a Cultural Studies’ perspective, it positions itself within the field of critical Medical/Health Humanities.
Monika Pietrzak-Franger is Chair of British Culture and Literature at the University of Vienna. Next to her stations at various Universities in Germany, she has also been Visiting Fellow at NYU (USA 2018, DFG), WUSTL (USA 2011-12, VW), Macquarie University (Australia, DFG) and Stellenbosch (South Africa, DFG). Apart from her publications on adaptation (Adaptations – Performing across Media and Genres, 2009), transmediality (Nineteenth-Century Transmedia Practices, forth. 2021), Victorianism/neo-Victorianism (Handbook of the English Novel, 2020, Transforming Cities, 2018, Neo-Victorianism and Globalisation, 2015; Darwin our Contemporary, 2014, Beauty, Women, and Fashion, 2014)masculinity, etc., she has also published on disease, health and invisibility (a.o., Disease, Communication and the Ethics of (In)visibility, 2014; Syphilis in Victorian Literature and Culture, 2017). Her current, thematically relevant, projects include: (as PI; together with Prof. S. Mayer/Medical University of Vienna) “Post-Covid-19 Care: Medical Humanities and Health Economics at the Frontlines” (2021-24); “COVID-19 beyond Borders” (2021), “Post-COVID-19 Art Worlds” (2021, VW); and, with her students: “Fifty Shades of COVID-19”.