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COVID-19 Empties Out Public Spaces

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 10, 2020

For the Atlantic, Alan Taylor compiled a bunch of photos of normally bustling places that are a lot emptier due to the COVID-19 crisis. This is the Grand Mosque in Mecca:

Covid 19 Empty Spaces

A Europa league football match played in an empty stadium (play in Italy’s Serie A league has been suspended until at least April 3):

Covid 19 Empty Spaces

And here’s Sunday mass at a church in Milan:

Covid 19 Empty Spaces

You can see the whole photo gallery here.

See also Ghost City Photos of a Usually Bustling Shanghai During Coronavirus Outbreak.

Update: Several more photo collections of the outside world’s increasingly empty spaces:

For Nieman Lab, Cherine Fahd and Sara Oscar wrote about the uncanny melancholy of empty photographs in the time of coronavirus.

These artists demonstrate a longstanding fascination with photographing architecture devoid of human subjects.

This fascination may be due to what architectural historian Anthony Vidler described as “the architectural uncanny.” Abandoned and deserted spaces, he said, make our familiar spaces become unfamiliar. For Vidler, this estrangement from space hinges on visual representation, such as in photography. These photographs of empty public spaces capture a departure from our everyday and instead visualize this uncanniness: an alternative reality emptied of our presence.