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“If you are a fencer and you are locked in a room, you should still be fencing”

Yuri Saprykin about life in quarantine and our prospects

“If you are a fencer and you are locked in a room, you should still be fencing”
Almost a year ago, the journalist, project manager of the “Polka” Yuri Saprykin gave a lecture on new sensitivity for our project. Today, during the days of the epidemic and self-isolation, Yuri tells us what kind of tests fell on the lot of feelings and relationships, as well as media and cultural institutions, and how humanity will return to normal life.

- What's happenning to the “new sensitivity” in connection with the infodemic, epidemic and the transition to online?

- This aggravated sensitivity has undergone new serious tests. On the one hand, increased excitability, a tendency to resent or aggression receives constant food, because there are more reasons to be afraid, worry, try to come up with a source for these experiences, find the one to blame, and ease the severity. On the other hand, it is clear that with such an information background it is extremely difficult to live in a state of hyper-excitability.

We see people looking for defense mechanisms. And the search for the guilty is one of them. There are others — for example, ignoring the flow of news or transforming it into a socially approved action: carrying products to the elderly, or helping doctors, or vice versa to deny the reality of this catastrophe — endlessly seek evidence that no virus exists, that this is a conspiracy, etc. But, as they said in the famous cartoon: "Everyone goes crazy alone, and everyone gets the flu together."

In general, individual or collective affects and methods of their processing have already faded into the background. There was only one affect — and on a global scale. Probably, you can still worry now that you are somehow impolitely mentioned in social networks or not answered correctly in the messenger. But all this remains our personal problem. No emotional whirlwinds about this twist. Once again, you are left face to face with your problems, and the general problem has turned out to be so common that its load has to be borne by everyone together on the scale of all mankind.

- Is there any difference in the expression of emotions in the Russian segment of the Internet and in the foreign? Are we sad and quarantined in different ways?

- Compared to many European countries, we are at an early stage of the epidemic. The Facebook group “Isolation” is the entertainment of a healthy person, for whom the main source of frustration is to stay at home and keep busy with something. But these are not people who get sick, go to hospitals and die near you. This is an early stage of the epidemic and an early stage of concomitant panic. God grant that it remains so. Although, probably, the chances of this are very slim.

We see some collective rituals in various European countries: applause for doctors at the appointed hour at the windows, aimed at symbolic rallying of people who were artificially separated. In Russia, nothing of the kind is happening yet. In Moscow, at least the most unifying was the feeling of frustration in relation to chaotic restrictions, which was not completely understood. Inconsistency and inconsistency of restrictions knocks the soil out from under the feet, such as a traffic jam near the metro due to electronic omissions. It’s not that there are a lot of positives abroad, but we have a lot of negative things. This is not so simple.

The Pravmir Foundation, which collects money for doctors, or people who participate in volunteer movements, are encouraging things. In this case, it doesn’t bother me that the volunteer movements are not created from below, but from above, with direct participation of the authorities, they are advertised on TV. They work, there are a lot of people, and what they do is very good.

But the feeling in the air is not fully justified, not fully thought out, or something, of artificial lack of freedom. Perhaps this is a feature of the early stages of the epidemic. Perhaps if the numbers of patients are much higher, we will stop worrying about the fact that we could run in the park, and the park is closed.

- Enthusiasm for free online lectures and broadcasts of operas from the Metropolitan Opera and other theaters in the world - how much is it justified? Will this total online relationship between a person and art change or vice versa disappointment follows enthusiasm?

- What is being done online now is a natural form for supporting some kind of life. This is in some way maintaining the fighting spirit of the institution, even if no one is watching the broadcast. Of course, from the consumer’s point of view, it doesn’t look like this: “Finally we ended up in the Babylonian library, and you can get any book, any play and any museum exhibit and wander in front of it using a computer screen.” The infinite variety of choices creates endless frustration or the complete impossibility of making this choice. In fact, we do not sit in quarantine and do not decide what kind of broadcast we should watch. We ourselves, as a rule, are part of some kind of institution, we work. And we are worried, all sorts of troubles are happening around us, we are reading a news feed. In two months, the point will not be that it will be difficult for us to choose from such a variety, we will not want this. But this does not mean that broadcasts are bad and do not need to be done. If you are an athlete, a runner or a fencer, and you are locked in a room, you should still be fencing.

- And what is happening in the field of media and, in particular, in the educational project "Polka"?

- Our project is ready to survive the degree of isolation that is now, even without noticing it. Although it has become more difficult to work, discuss some things with colleagues, it has become more difficult to enter a rhythm or schedule and stay in it.

As for colleagues from other media, it is clear that the demand for news sites has increased. When something out of the ordinary happens, people go to update the news feed. But there will be less advertising because of the crisis that accompanies this epidemic. And then there is a decrease in consumer activity and a drop in income in all market segments, except for the sale of food products. People have to work more, the result of the work is more successful and in demand, but they will have less money. And if there was not enough troubles for our still independent media, there will also be this one now.

- How will the long pastime online affect our relations in the future? How will this affect feelings, self-awareness?

- We will all get tired of online sphere. Everyone is already tired of this. Probably, as soon as everything is over, directly awaits a renaissance of tactility and sensuality, the desire for the closest personal communication, for the collective experience of some aesthetic events in real life.

In general, this is an amazing situation when we got a chance to see and experience things that we never experienced. We have a chance to see 100% of the children who happily run to school because they missed it. We have a chance to be at a concert or at a performance that, regardless of its quality, produces the same strong feelings in us as the first concert in our youth, at which we were — this is as we are about to live through the first ball of Natasha Rostova.

The power of emotions that will cause a return to normal life is extremely high. And online fatigue is extremely high. It is not from online as such. There are things that, due to quarantine, will receive a very powerful impetus for development. Different kinds of deliveries will become more, they will become better. Probably, everything related to the workflow, some kind of reporting, all sorts of cases that remained on paper, will go online. And all of this will only make people happy. But in everything related to communication, culture, education — the communication of people with people, we have a chance, after quarantine, to see the reverse from digital to analog, from zoom to home parties.

It is important to make a reservation here that quarantine will not end simultaneously. The end of quarantine and isolation will be very much stretched in time and will probably occur with fluctuations: step forward — step back. Something will open slightly, close a little back. It will be possible to go somewhere, somewhere it will be impossible for a long time. There is already talk that we will not see big live concerts until the fall of 2021, and in Germany they are thinking about closing theaters and concert halls for the next year and a half. I see Moscow clubs selling tickets for the first quarantine party. There will be no such party. Yes, and a general holiday. There will be such a gradual return back — in millimeters — of living space.

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