Need zing in your Zoom? Let Warhol and the avant-garde vamp up your video conferences


It’s hard to make much of a mark in the strange, static world of video-conferencing. But we could all learn a trick or two from famous arthouse film-makers, from Jim Jarmusch to Andy Warhol

Of all the many weirdnesses of the age of lockdown, video-conferencing must be one of the weirdest. This is the first time many of us have used Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Houseparty. And, invaluable as they are, few would disagree that they are a strange way to communicate. From the stilted family group chat to the strained business meeting, it all feels messy and unnatural. Video-conferencing is nothing like real-life conversation, nor is it like cinema or TV, even though it is essentially watching people on a screen.

However, for a certain strain of film-makers and artists, the unblinking, unmoving gaze of the webcam is familiar territory. Could the art end of cinema help ease our pain and anxiety? Could we improve our new social rituals by rethinking them as experiments in avant garde film?

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