As you might have noticed (but most likely you haven’t), I’m not among those whose productivity shot up to epiphanic levels during quarantine. I did not catch up with any of my numerous reading lists, and the pandemic has definitely not inspired me to start any exciting new projects about the virus or anything else. For the most part, during the past few months I have been wrapping up all the stuff that had been slowly brewing while I was not updating this blog.
First of all, I finished my PhD. I managed to deliver my thesis in time and only had to make a few minor corrections after the discussion, which was pretty sweet. I also got my first proper academic gig, which absorbed a lot of my time (especially considering the many uncertainties and disruptions that online learning adds to the university experience I had just started getting used to). Since the term ended, I’ve been mostly focused on applying for new jobs and generally enjoying the thrill/panic of the newly minted PhD student, minus all the stuff you can’t do because of Covid-19 (which means most of the best stuff). I have no idea what the future will bring, but considering the huge amount of shit that has been sweeping across the planet and ruining the livelihoods of so many people this year, I’ve been feeling blessed for having this to think about and not something else.
Speaking of exciting things, a couple articles of mine have come out. The first is a Social Media + Society paper about the Digital Nomad, the politics of geotagging, and the aesthetics of post-work on Instagram. Considering I submitted the first draft at the end of January 2019, I was super happy to finally see this come to light. It is a chapter of my thesis and I am used to think about it within my discourse on tagging, but it is very interesting to see it in dialogue with other studies on Instagram culture.
The second is a shorter piece about Tagging Aesthetics, published as part of a new issue of APRJA about Research Networks. It combines the first and last chapters of my thesis into a very short and hopefully coherent text, which traces the main trajectory of my research quite effectively. The publication is the result of a very productive e-mail exchange and an in-person workshop at the last Transmediale in Berlin, so I am extra happy to see it because it reminds me of the last proper good time I had before lockdown.
I should have more publishing updates before the end of the year, but honestly I’m thinking of using this space to post lower-pressure, more spontaneous stuff about cities, comedy or food in the meantime. During my PhD I haven’t been writing freelance as much as I used to, and while there are other reasons for that (e.g. I haven’t been paid for some articles yet) it might be good to use the newly freed mind space to do something different. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start a newsletter or something.