The outbreak of COVID-19 provoked a myriad of intriguing sentiments among my friends, me, and others, including a cringey fascination and an ambivalent kind of Eros brought on by the feeling of doomsday. These sentiments changed rapidly into sheer fear and anxiety of the sinister and unfamiliar present time (and future) and provided fertile ground for the emergence and enhancement of nostalgic feelings and practices. Nostalgia (from Greek – nóstos: homecoming, álgos: pain, ache) is defined as missing the past and clinging to it in an idealized and nonjudgmental manner. As such, nostalgia acts many times as a way to cope with a crisis-ridden reality, when the individual yearns for the past — perceived as “simple” — in the face of a chaotic and incomprehensible present.
The Coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on cities and populations all over the world. Although the virus itself is only a tiny, invisible thing, it has set a challenge for humanity: public spaces in cities have become empty, airports are closed, prayers have been cancelled and people are told to stay home for the first time in our lifetime. As cities are not meant to only satisfy basic human needs but provide crucial physical and social environments for human interaction, the changes the virus has brought to urban spaces have left stark impressions on their inhabitants and vice versa. Our daily habits influence our lives, and the way we act and interact reforms our built environment.
"Ich bin die 'Fremde', die 'heute kommt und morgen bleibt.' (Simmel, 1992: 764). In Zeiten der Corona-Krise fühle ich mich als Südkoreanerin in Deutschland noch fremder, doch gleichzeitig fühle ich mich als in Deutschland lebende Südkoreanerin auch fremd, wenn ich mit meinen Freunden in Korea kommuniziere." Kayoon Kim berichtet über den unterschiedlichen Umgang mit Corona in Südkorea und Deutschland.
Covid19 takes a toll on everyone's life and routines, affecting the vulnerable and (to a lesser extent) even the privileged who always got around disasters in one way or another. At the level of everyday life, the spatial and temporal patterns of movement are changing, forming in their own way a pandemic choreography that reflects the societal conditions under Corona. This post by Martin Schinagl maps and reflects on these changes.