"Closed Up" is a Webby-Honoree short film shot entirely on zoom at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Twenty artists and experts try to connect in the digital space as their hyper-real conference call becomes infected with a virus and takes over their cameras leaving us all asking, "what happens next?"
Director: Julia Gorbach, Nathan Phillips
At the beginning of this year, we were disconnected by our screens. Then Covid-19 hit and we were all catapulted online. Suddenly, the only way to stay connected was through our screens. Every single conversation became a video call and it began to feel like we were all subjects and viewers of a documentary shot entirely in close up.
The film itself is a documentary featuring 20 artists, technologists, and experts all sheltering-in-place trying to connect and make sense of the new "normal." It’s visually structured like a conference call, but it evolves as you watch. As the call fills up and the small talk ends, cameras start to flip from the grid of faces to the forward facing cameras revealing where the speakers actually are in locations all over the world and in the virtual space. Eventually, a virus infects the call and everything becomes beautifully undone.
The film is a meditation on our interwoven mixed reality. Our ability to stay connected and receive information during a global pandemic is unprecedented and reveals our intricate relationship to technology, specifically the internet. However, living in the era of fake news, polarizing tribal thinking, and an internet controlled by GAFA, the very tool that allowed us to stay connected is the very tool that is at risk of a thought pandemic.