The present era tends to produce ever new and harder experiences of loneliness: secularization, rationalization, urbanization, globalization, individualization and digitalization have made it harder than ever to form communities and have left individuals to their own devices. The forms of loneliness accompanying those developments often remain invisible in everyday life and thus difficult to address. By contrast, today’s television shows have been able to articulate modern loneliness through an array of aesthetics, narratives, figures, stories and sounds. Starting with an interdisciplinary iconography of modern loneliness, I consider clips from current television series such as Bates Motel as I trace the televisual expression of social isolation.
After studying media and film, Denis Newiak completed his dissertation on social isolation in the late modern era. He studies the dynamic exchange of information between television and society, the community-building effect of television series, and knowledge and action in catastrophe stories. His recent publications include Alles schon mal dagewesen: Was wir aus Pandemie-Filmen für die Corona-Krise lernen können (2020; It’s All Been There Before: What We Can Learn about the Coronavirus from Pandemic Movies, 2021). His forthcoming works are Die Einsamkeiten der Moderne: Eine Theorie der Modernisierung als Zeitalter der Vereinsamung (2022); Einsamkeit in Serie: Televisuelle Ausdrucksformen moderner Vereinsamung (2022), and Blackout – nichts geht mehr: Wie wir uns mit Filmen und TV-Serien auf einen Stromausfall vorbereiten können (2022).