Coronary is a net art project, in the form of a hypertextual essay about the cultural experience of the coronavirus, with emphasis on Brazilian daily life. Due to negationism of the pandemic, by President Bolsonaro, in Brazil it gains particular features, while maintaining a dialogue with the globalized world . In this work we approach the phenomenon from three different viewpoints: language, Google mediation, and the aesthetics of surveillance.
The Coronary's starting point is a set of 25 words, popular in the context of Covid-19, such as Zoom, alcohol gel, and pandemic, for which we offer a small glossary.
The choice of 25 words follows the logic of Google Trends (a search trends feature of Google, today named Alphabet).It is the number of responses generated by the program at each consultation. The selected words are submitted to Google Trends to compare their social density before and after the Covid-19. It is a fact that Google Search is not a reflection of the social dynamics. However, the dynamics of the searches is an indicator of social concerns and interests at a given time.
A heat map dynamically checks the audience’s attention regarding the words we listed in the coronavirus lexicon. The most accessed by the audience change their color on a scale that varies from blue (cooler) to red (hotter and, therefore, more accessed).
These heat maps have become recurrent images in the context of Covid-19. They are key images in the pandemic context. Meaningful within the scope of surveillance aesthetics, heat maps not only monitor the physiology of the body in space, but also, they are a tool to track user behaviour on a website.
It is important to understand that in the context of contemporary data surveillance, the focus is not on the individual , but his integration within a certain pattern. Heat clusters are not the result, therefore, of basic interactions, in simple processes of action and reaction. They operate relationally, indicating the distribution of attention of the entire audience on this site, incorporating individual interactions to establish patterns and collective trends.
Coronary appropriates the visual vocabulary of the coronavirus to perform a critical "live surveillance" exercise. This appropriation allows the public to watch a standard procedure of monitoring how they access the Internet, which is usually invisible and ignored. At the same time, the Coronary discusses the symbolic capital of attention and its structuring role in the economy of attention and the politics of gaze that rules the digital world.
Finally, while interpreting the coronavirus in the context of culture, the Coronary assumes that we are facing not only one of the most severe public health crises in history. The coronavirus is also a landmark time of the consolidation, as well as the emergence, of social and economic transformations in the globalization process.
Giselle Beiguelman, april 2020
Artwork Comissioned by Instituto Moreira Salles