“Bremen-Groningen online workshop on multimodality” – Online via Zoom – 21 May 2021. Samira Ibnelkaïd will give a talk titled “Technobodily enactments of “experience-sharing configurations” in video interaction” – 21/05/21 17:00-18:30 (Oulu time / GMT+3).
As the global pandemic has shown us, embodied social interactions are a necessity if one is to actively take part in the sociocultural world. Self-isolation, lockdown, curfew, “social distancing”, are all meant to prevent a virus from spreading but they also constitute a risk for people to develop negative affects, solitude and exclusion.
Video calling has become extremely popular as it allows individuals to interact safely, to fulfill the “human desire for ubiquity” (Gras, 1999) and to maintain a “sense of belonging” (Lipiansky, 1993). During their video interactions with friends and family, individuals make use of their digital devices not only to convey information within “talking-heads configurations” but to share positive affects, recent achievements and joyful events within “experience-sharing configurations” as well. Those sequences are technobodily achieved and aimed at making visible to relatives one’s subjective experience and daily life. To further understand the on-screen enactment of “experience-sharing configurations” we have gathered data of video calls in between French friends and family members from various generations during the covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on Visual Ethnography (Pink 2007), Multimodal Interaction Analysis (Goffman 1973, Goodwin 1981, Mondada 2008) and Phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty, 1945), our study of a collection of “experience-sharing” sequences (showing a newborn baby, homemade food, new toys, etc.) reveals that showing is not a unilateral accomplishment but rather a technobodily co-constructed participatory activity. Our analysis leads us to identify a multimodal structure of online showing from the preface to the initiation (self-initiated or hetero-initiated) and to the showing itself (guided or non-guided) and finally to the closing (direct or indirect) and the transition to another conversational topic. This intersubjective multimodal enactment of “experience-sharing configurations” allows individuals, despite the ongoing pandemic and its consequences, to make the invisible visible, to prevent social exclusion and to foster positive affects.