In spring 2020, as the pandemic swept across the world, citizens everywhere closed their doors and opened their diaries to record its impact on their lives. By the summer of 2020, there were over 250 initiatives, sponsored by cities, museums, foundations and schools, with tens of thousands of diaries. Jukka Gronow (a sociologist) and Frank Trentmann (a historian) began to research these collections for what they can tell us about people and their everyday life during a crisis. From the many diaries, they selected passages that record the surprisingly broad spectrum of reactions in Finland, Germany, Sweden and Italy, and, with the creative input of London-based artist Jessica Mountfield, turned them into a visual format. Their film illustrates fears and hopes; a sense of liberation as well as loss; feelings of care and solidarity but also of surveillance and the uncanny.
An academic-artistic collaboration, the film invites us to reflect on our own assumptions about everyday life. What is (or should be) “normal”? And what does “normal” mean when crisis itself becomes normal?
© Jukka Gronow, Jessica Mountfield, Frank Trentmann