Book: Maldito Coronavirus!
Chapter: Para disfrutarse y también cuidarse: Digital Intimacy and Wellbeing in Pandemic-era Livestreams
This chapter looks at questions of digital intimacy and well-being in the context of pandemic-time video streams and the communities that have arisen around them. In particular, it examines the social dynamics of regularized video-queue streams on three YouTube channels that specialize in música huasteca, a music-and-dance tradition from a geo-cultural region in central Mexico with a significant diaspora in the southern United States. The chapter describes how a digitally-mediated social infrastructure initially developed to serve a community in diaspora readily scaled to address the need for connection during the early stages of the pandemic. It examines a new genre of livestreams by huasteco trios, huapango dance contests, and how the practice of improvisation in son huasteco generated a voluminous repertory of new verses that speak to the coronavirus moment and contributed to setting norms for sanitary behavior by framing hygienic precautions as a form of collective care. It features interviews with content creators, artists, and active participants in the virtual huapango communities the authors term the cyber-Huasteca that has manifested around the YouTube channels GaVBroadcast, QuerrequeFilms, and Cotorro Huasteco.