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The Current Thing started an effort to collect ideas, that were born in the first two months of self-quarantine. Not as a Gramscian response to the experience of radical repression through incarceration, but rather as the search for a line of thinking along which to move forward, while —as Sean Cubit puts it— “Covid reads us to death” (see his essay in this volume). Some of us are in the tragicomic and contradictory position where we live in bubbles while the world burns around us. At least for the current moment, for the current thing, it has an effect on our sensibility: how to engage with reflections on the state of the world born in absence and silence and endless maddening stillness. The conditions in which some of the following texts were written might be compared with other times and places: the self-imposed isolation of the fourth century hermit, St Anthony of Egypt, or, the predicament of the fictional Flaubert of Liz LeCompt’s play and Ken Kobland’s related film, “Flaubert dreams of travel but the illness of his mother prevents it”.
The living planet has brought us back to earth. Dreamlike travels were, nonetheless, recorded. Self-reflections, Weltschmerz, philosophemes, midlife-crisis-ridden disaster-monologues, poems, revolutionary manifestos and other “insights” transformed into writing, drawing, and even film. We asked a number of people we knew to share something about this experience and a group of 45 responded. Besides texts, drawings and collages this journal features also videos and sound files all produced during Covid. As the majority of the featured writers are filmmakers, film scholars or have an affinity with the moving image, not surprisingly, a good portion of the contributions come in the form of moving images.