Visualizing the Virus. The Use of Data Visualizations in COVID-19 Documentaries


  • Samuel Antichi University of Calabria



Documentary , Covid-19 Pandemic, Trauma studies, Infographics, Disaster Media


This contribution will examine different communicative and narrative strategies adopted by some documentary productions in order to visualize something invisible, like the virus and its effects. Through the case studies I will take into account, my intent is to reflect upon the pandemic narration, which replaces or alternates the photographic realism of the images of pain and suffering, intended as scientific and incontrovertible proof of the virus manifestation, with a modernist narrative, mixing interviews with infographic material, maps, dashboards, photomicrographs, and computer graphics animations. Despite their profound mediation by software that makes pictures out of numbers, these informatic images, reported daily in news channels and broadcasts as well, besides shaping the relationships between scientific research, documentary, and its explanatory and pedagogical power to narrate, reconfigure the collective imagination of the pandemic in a bioinformation era.

Author Biography

Samuel Antichi, University of Calabria

Samuel Antichi holds a PhD in Music and Performing Arts from “Sapienza” University of Rome, with a thesis entitled The Black Hole of Meaning. Ri-mettere in scena il trauma nel cinema documentario contemporaneo, which has been published as monograph in 2020. He wrote papers in Italian academic journals as La Valle dell’Eden, Fata Morgana, Imago, Cinema e Storia, Immagine, Schermi, Cinergie, Piano B, Comunicazioni Sociali, L’Avventura and he attended several national and international conferences. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor (RTD-A) at University of Calabria, working on the project “Media and Visual Literacy in the Digital Age”.




How to Cite

Antichi, S. (2023). Visualizing the Virus. The Use of Data Visualizations in COVID-19 Documentaries. Cinéma & Cie. Film and Media Studies Journal, 22(39), 115–124.