World

One Hundred MB of Solitude

What happens to our lives when the only space to meet is online

Only today we do realize the value of a simple handshake. The Covid-19 emergency and the resulting lockdown have forced us to change the way we experience family life and social relationships. It is no longer possible to meet and embrace a friend, a relative, sometimes a partner, and we don’t even have the consolation of being able to plan the next meeting. Cancelled flights, closed borders, or simply the fear of bringing the virus to a beloved, one, prevent us from fully experiencing relationships with the people we are close with.

This is a painful barrier for many, especially in countries like Italy where social relations involve a strong element of physical contact. In the solitude of our homes, we try to fill this gap using the available technology. Video calls have become the only way to spend time together, to share moments of the day or the emotions that we’re feeling in this difficult age.

And, paradoxically, what we sometimes unconsciously show our interlocutors during those calls – the furnishings of our homes, the knick-knacks on bookshelves and the paintings on the walls – often reveals more about us, our doubts, fears or dreams, than we were ever willing to display in public.

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