As the novel coronavirus pandemic spreads, we—the people of planet earth—are faced with a dizzying variety of responses: quarantine, containment, vigilant self-quarantine, paranoid self-isolation, and in some cases escape from the above. Suddenly, it is as if circulation itself has turned against us, making healthy freedom of movement in the world a dealer of death. So your flight is cancelled. Your trip is over. We are staying in place for the foreseeable future. Exhibitions, symposia, gatherings of all kinds are postponed. But not sporting events. Those will go on, but without any supporters in the stands. The players will play for empty stadiums and we will watch from home. It’s a good time to catch up on reading.
The movement and circulation of images and words is quite literally what we all do. In the current viral climate, now that mobility is rapidly curtailed and as preparations to be contagious and contained indoors shift between potentiality and reality, certain infrastructures are laid bare in their fragility. At the same time, specific mobilities may revert to how they looked at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The loss of free and near-miraculous movement between needed international gatherings of artists isn’t quite something to be celebrated either. What would it look like to gather and share ideas, works, publications traveling only by data or by foot?