Today's collections come from two ends of the world. Divjot Bawa's collection focuses on viral social media content circulating in Amritsar, Punjab in northern India. The content ranges from humorous videos nostalgically celebrating Amritsar's amazing street food and roadside dhabas, which have shut down during quarantine, to disturbing misinformation, claiming tea and acidic fruits can cure COVID-19, which, as Divjot explains, is often believed, especially by elderly users. His collection also includes moving user-generated videos of relief efforts shared on TikTok, or of the world changed by the pandemic set to religious music.
Benjamin Sarquis Peillard presents us with a fascinating set of interviews (in Spanish, with accompanying summaries in English) from Chileans, on their assessment of how the pandemic has affected their country. The pandemic hit Chile at a crucial moment in its political history, when a massive reform movement demanding redress for the yawning inequality in Chilean society would have culminated this March in a referendum on a constitutional amendment. Benjamin's interviewees include a mental health worker in Santiago, a military officer studying at Georgetown University, an enterprise insurance broker, a salesperson for retirement services, a retiree and an expatriate whose plans to return to the country from the US were abruptly stymied by the global lockdown. Their diverging views provide fascinating insight into how a country deeply polarized politically and economically has been forced to come together to face the pandemic.
As always, stay home and stay safe.
Dr. Ananya Chakravarti