Okay. Now everything on your other phone and on your hard drive is accessible here on the tablet and your new phone, but it’s also backed up in the cloud and in our servers. Your music, your photos, your messages, your data. It can never be lost. You lose this tablet or phone, it takes exactly six minutes to retrieve all your stuff and dump it on the next one. It’ll be here next year and next century. (Brandon, in Dave Eggers’ The Circle, 2013: 43)
Lisa Baraitser is Professor of Psychosocial Theory at Birkbeck, University of London. In her research, she combines psychoanalytic and social theories to address the temporal, ethical and affective dimensions of care. In this interview, Prof. Baraitser helps us think through the temporal politics of COVID-19 and the ways in which pandemic conditions transform the affective dimensions of care work in Europe and US-America.
Standby refers to an operating state in which energy continues to flow despite an apparent shutdown, thus allowing for sudden reactivation. This special issue mobilizes the notion of standby to understand its capacities and conditions as a mode of organizing sociomaterial lifeworlds.
Slowdown is a mundane part of infrastructural operations and emerges in varying compositions (e.g. Harvey, 2012; Weszkalnys, 2017). Infrastructures rest while waiting for an emergency (e.g. urban emergency infrastructures or critical architectures, like bunker systems, banking architectures or information systems); flows of money, information and passengers are hindered and stuck in waiting architectures until further notice and technical compositions remain available for possible re-usage, e.g.