In the age of Covid-19, we are fast becoming synchronous beings. Whereas in pre-Covid times, the preferred mode of communication was “on demand” texting and social media – real-time had become so passé – now we are fully connected in the moment, grateful for face-to-face in the virtuality of the third space. With the pandemic, the physical realm has become a foreboden territory of communication outside of one’s own pod, and so, we now turn to one another in the live medium of the social broadcast, aching for lost synchronicity.
One can only wonder what the effects will be of this sea change from the asynchronous to real-time. Now that we know just how precious a live, many-to-many conversation is to our social well being, will this form of networked communication become the norm? It is truly ironic that with the impact of social distancing and forced isolation, many of us are now in more frequent contact with long lost friends and colleagues from around the world.
And so, our Webcams have become our windows to the outside world, our lifeline for social interaction, the umbilical cord that ties us together: from meetings to happy hours to news anchors broadcasting from basement studios. The Internet, always conceived as a distributed network, with its rhizomatic tentacles connecting us in all directions simultaneously, has, like never before, become the central nervous system of the global culture. All life it seems is now mediated, transmitted electronically, a decentralization of the broadcast: everyone is now a broadcaster in the post-Covid world.
Our lives have become framed by the grid of the Webcast, the architecture of networked co-habitation. However, this framing is only an illusion. The borders of our first space environments are transgressed by the sheer energy of exchange that is transmitted between us. We need not be confined by the grid! We are navigators of the third space, extruding beyond the confinement, reaching out, engaging, embracing: the only limitation to the dissolution of the grid’s boundaries is our imagination.
Perhaps we are evolving as a species, learning to rediscover ourselves and our social relations in third space environments. If the Webcam is our window, or perhaps better stated our lens beyond the first space, and if social distancing is in fact the new reality in the current state of pandemic, we need to each find our own personal modality of synchronicity that allows us to forget the grid, to transcend the grid, to explode the grid! The third space is not a substitute for the first space, it is its own social arena & creative medium. It is the new reality we inhabit.