a presentation of my ongoing research shared at Dancecult conference on the 16.09.2021:

#CoVideoWatching: sharing the pandemic experiences in comments under YouTube music videos

Belarus didn’t introduce Covid-lockdowns, the president was long denying that the disease existed and our society’s health depended mostly on our own responsibility. In spring 2020 I was self-quarantined at a colleague’s flat in Minsk – sick for several weeks, making a new electro EP and listening to music on YouTube.

Reading the comments under the music videos I’ve noticed people telling how this or that song was a perfect ‘corona anthem’ or has ‘predicted it all’ and how the music helped them to survive the sickness and isolation. People were supporting each other, dreaming about post-Covid parties and discussing the prospects of vaccines development. It felt as if the whole world – or a large part of it – was united by a common tragedy.

I’ve started collecting screenshots of such personal epiphanies and empathy, but then the political events in my country pushed this topic far back. I was still checking for such comments once in a while and noticed that over the year their content has changed. Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers have joined the threads and YouTube music videos became yet another platform for spreading disinformation and conspiracies.

A year and a half after the pandemic start the world has unsynced and fragmented. Some countries are now completing vaccination and seemingly taking the situation under control, returning to a degree of ‘normality’, others are struggling but even throwing test raves – still others are burning with suffering that sees no end. But music still unites people separated by the sanitary and political barriers.

In this paper I’m revisiting those old comments threads and analyzing the new ones to see how do the comments under YouTube music videos reflect the situation of ‘one world united & separated under a plague’.

Каментаванне забаронена.