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UC Training Video

In preparation for the limited return to campuses, the University of California system is requiring an online training be completed by all personnel who may be spending time on campus. In this training, the Coronavirus: Prevention and Protection, a variety of strategies for reducing COVID-19 transmission. Throughout the video, an ominous string score accompanies the images. The sound creates a sense of tension which is intended to convey the gravity of the pandemic. The viewers should interpret the tone as an imperative for them to follow the guidelines in the video. Building upon the unsettling score, the video opens with two visual imaginaries for the global spread of the virus to actuate the individual responsibility of the viewer to protect themselves against it. In the first, a growing counter of COVID-19 cases is centered over an image of a masked Asian man on public transportation (0:09). Bold font indicates the counter begins in China. As the case counter continues increasing, the background changes to various stock images of people in masks as the country designation moves from Italy to Spain to Germany. The United States is curiously removed from this global narrative. Instead, the United States is introduced into this pandemic imaginary through not an epidemiological figuration but a map of the country at night (0:46). The light clusters, representing the light pollution from metropolitan areas, acts as a stand in for the disease clusters in those same cities—reiterating COVID-19 as an “urban” problem rather than a national problem. Even as the voice-over emphasizes the ever shifting situation of a pandemic, the static representation of the United States as removed from the global and paused in the internal spread of disease does not adequately prepare workers for the still contagious reality of the university in the pandemic.