Work From Home is a new vertical dedicated to life and culture in the strange and unprecedented situation of self-quarantine that many of us are dealing with right now. From what to watch to how to get a fit off and how to not think about anything, this is our guide to the great indoors. For updates on the spread of Covid-19 and how to keep yourself safe and informed, consult WHO and the CDC.
Not to get too Baudrillard about it, but as the post-Covid-19 simulation transitions into a full-on simulacrum, many of us are going half-crazy trying to maintain a sense of camaraderie and community in a time of social distancing. We miss our friends. We miss going out. We miss getting lit.
And shit is getting hyperreal, to the point where we’re beginning to notice how we can use social platforms to achieve a modicum of normalcy. We get fits off in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We can’t stop talking about Tiger King. We have happy hours on Zoom or FaceTime, and do push-ups on a training app or because we were challenged to on Instagram. And we’ve traded concert venues for virtual ones, readily turning to livestreams for musical entertainment and really just anything to bat the banality away.
That’s where the brilliance of Zack Bia and Pedro Cavaliere’s Instagram Live DJ set comes in. Whereas DJ D-Nice’s viral house party — #ClubQuarantine — felt like a celebrity-filled supercut of songs you and your parents could rock to, Bia and Cavaliere’s set, replete with a green screen and a revolving set of graphics, was the digital equivalent of a fashion week afterparty at Silencio or China Chalet.
There was the “if you know, you know” appeal of being in the right circles to know it was going down in the first place. Cavaliere started out the set on his account, blending into the RealTree camo background and just having fun in the moment, before Bia joined and went live to his more than 290k followers. The resulting stream included everyone from model Joan Smalls, Tinashe, Luka Sabbat, MIDNIGHT STUDIOS founder Shane Gonzales, Arthur Kar of L’Art de L’Automobile, Virgil Abloh, and even Drake — who let the two debut his upcoming “Toosie Slide” track during the set, at which point the chroma key visuals turned into CG models of the cloud-patterned Boeing 767 Abloh recently designed for the artist.
It was the influencer jetstream colliding with self-isolation. As the backgrounds switched from LA hotspot Delilah to the Eiffel Tower (replete with an Arthur Kar-branded car zooming around the screen) they even snuck in an April Fool’s joke in the form of a faux low battery warning. The meta layers to the ingenuity on display, along with the inside jokes and candor of the attendees, combined the vulnerability of an Instagram Live with a new kind of FOMO. In what other world could you witness Kendall Jenner asking people to link up on Nintendo Switch?
It required you to be in the moment and present on the platform, not just passively scrolling through the feed. Sure, you were vibing with people you might otherwise only follow, but just like actually being at a party of this caliber, it was relieving to come across the name of a friend you knew for real, and chatting with them on the stream in the same way you’d walk up to them at a party and be all, “Yoooo, you made it out tonight!”
In that sense, Bia and Cavaliere tapped into our collective culture’s desire not just for connection, but a real sense of community. That IG Live hit different, not just because of the green screen and the masterful balance of Internet humor with tongue-in-cheek YKTV references, but also because everyone there was aware we were witnessing something special. It was the closest I’d felt to actually being at a club in a long time, perfectly replicating the way you might finesse your way into some exclusive party, spot some famous people there, give them their space, and ultimately just hang out with your homies the entire time.
But the best part? There’s no replay. Sure, there are screenshots and recordings, but you really had to be there to know what it was like. Hosting one of Instagram Live’s best events of our new normal and only having its legacy live on secondhand? That’s pretty innovative.