The Paradox of Presence

Auto-ethnographic Study on Life and Death via Social Media

  • Anastasiya Maksymchuk Lusófona University
Keywords: auto-ethnography, mediated presence, distant suffering, death witnessing, internet


The following work is an autoethnographic study on emotional engagement and sense of presence mediated by Internet in cases of extreme situations. This story is the one of death. In April 2020, my step-father died of lung cancer. The COVID-19 lockdown had caught him and my mother in Berlin, where my step-father had been undergoing his treatment which unfortunately turned out to be unsuccessful. Based in Lisbon, I was not able to be physically next to my parents during these hard times. However, I tried to do my best giving support via messages and videocalls. It coincided that on the night of my step-father's death, when my mother was next to him in the hospital room, I was also there, “next” to them both, but via videocall. My short film is a creative reflection on the concept of mediated presence.

July 5, 2021
How to Cite
Maksymchuk, A. (2021). The Paradox of Presence: Auto-ethnographic Study on Life and Death via Social Media. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 14(1), 67–72.