The student workshop “A Visiodemic – Pandemische Medienwelten und Ihre Virulenz” held at the Internationale Akademie Traunkirchen aimed at examining the diversity of representations and forms of communication of the recent pandemic, shedding light on its viral nature (i.e., the way knowledge is constructed and disseminated in online and offline worlds), and exploring how social media influence how we perceive the pandemic. As interdisciplinary project it brought together perspectives from cultural studies, media studies, as well as media design.
Background: Over the past two years, the Corona pandemic has dominated national and international media coverage. Television, radio, and print media have been and continue to be occupied by coverage of incidences, hospitalizations, and case numbers. These media reports are accompanied by an enormous number of images. It is not uncommon for these images to be used for propaganda purposes instead of documentation. In addition, images circulate on social media platforms; meme cultures and social media have entered into the portrayal of the pandemic. Scientific charts and diagrams, cartographies, and representations of data that we are confronted with on a daily basis represent another form of circulating images. In summary, the Corona pandemic was accompanied by a ‘visiodemic’ (Pietrzak-Franger 2021) – an overproduction of visual information that spreads at breakneck speed and is often difficult to critically evaluate. This ‘Visiodemie/Visiodemic’ has not yet received sufficient attention. While scholars and media experts agree that appropriate visual crisis communication is important, there is disagreement about the form it should take.
The ‘Visiodemic’ workshop was led by
- Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Pietrzak-Franger (Anglistische Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Wien)
- Prof. Dr. Angela Krewani (Institut für Medienwissenschaft, Philipps-Universität Marburg)
- Prof. Dr. Alexis Dworsky (Institut für Kunst und Bildung, Abteilung Mediengestaltung Lehramt, Kunstuniversität Linz)