Goethe-Institut launches digital magazine

Called ‘Proximity and Distance’, it discusses lockdown lessons

An art exhibition and an interactive pop-up installation were on display for the public to explore lockdown lessons through artworks and visual material produced for the project website.
An art exhibition and an interactive pop-up installation were on display for the public to explore lockdown lessons through artworks and visual material produced for the project website.

Will wedding receptions in India be limited to 100 guests instead of 1,000?
Will the elbow bump replace cheek-kissing as the standard greeting in Brazil?
Will FFP2 facemasks become a natural matter of course in everyday shopping and train travel in Germany?
Is the private sphere being dragged into the public in Korea or vice versa?
How do you maintain social distancing in mega-cities like Seoul, Delhi or Sao Paulo when four generations live in 12 square metres?

Last week, Goethe-Institut’s digital magazine called ‘Proximity and Distance’ explored these questions against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, and brought on board authors and artists to engage in a cross-cultural exchange through written word and art, during an offline event organised at Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi.

An art exhibition and an interactive pop-up installation were on display for the public to explore lockdown lessons through artworks and visual material produced for the project website.

Four experts—Korean philosophy professor Kwang Sun Joo from Busan, Brazilian artist Rosana Paulino from Sao Paulo, German sociologist Jan Paul Heisig from Berlin, and Indian author and filmmaker Paromita Vohra from Mumbai—came together to focus on the future, on changes ushered in by the pandemic and find answers to: How close to others can we be, and how close do we want to be? How important is physical closeness really and what other forms of proximity are conceivable? How much social distancing is to be expected in the post-pandemic age?

Elaborating on the origin of the project theme, Berthold Franke, regional director, Goethe-Institut South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran), said, “The pandemic hit the world in different waves and intensities and impelled humans and civil societies to unlearn and learn a lot in a little time. The project ‘Proximity and Distance’ came to being because we too, at Goethe-Institut, wanted to learn from our experiences with Covid-19.”

He added that distance and proximity is a fundamental parameter that enables “us to understand the Covid experience, not just in one country, but across the globe. Of course, illness and time are also universal, but we decided to go with proximity and distance because it is a social as well as a cultural parameter that is also found in Korea and Brazil, albeit in different forms. And this particular contrast in cultures was an exciting departure point for us.”

Here are some impressions from the ‘Proximity and Distance’ digital magazine: Manifestations from everyday pandemic life, by Srishti Guptaroy.

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