M. is in the middle of a lecture on how to answer questions after a lecture. As if this redundancy wasn’t enough, he has chosen a picture of a tropical beach as background. A young girl enters the frame: unaware of the solemnity of the moment, she makes grotesque faces and sticks her tongue out. Eighty virtual faces laugh behind their silenced microphones.
Second studio session after the faculty closing. Professor C. makes the final remarks in his paused way of speaking. Suddenly, a long and plaintive meow reveals the presence of a cat that is out of sight. C. excuses himself, kicks the animal out of the room and keeps talking.
Two kids around ten or twelve years old open the door behind her. Mom and kids all look the same: as a biblical miracle, this teacher has abruptly multiplied. “Say hi.” They wave. She tells them something in Dutch and they leave the room.
During a break, one of the students talks in his mother tongue to a woman. A groupmate from the same country listens and envies his fellow’s good fortune: living with someone to talk to in native language is something he misses, even more during these strange times. Later, the identity of the mysterious woman is revealed: “I couldn’t find a home when I arrived in Amsterdam. She saved me from becoming homeless.”
C. lives in the countryside. He usually answers the calls from the same room, with a landscape printed shoji behind him. One day, during a tutoring session, a rebellious cackling filters into the digital realm. “Are those chickens?” asks one of his tutors. C. nods and laughs nervously: “Yes, they are in my garden.”
The phone rings. Professor K. says he must hang up for a moment. Once back, he explains it was his neighbour on the phone: the woman, 86 years old, was reporting to him she was still alive.
A one-to-one meeting for checking her employee’s mental health is interrupted by the ring of L.’s doorbell. She excuses herself and leaves for a moment. The door opens and closes in the distance. Sitting again in front of the camera, she reveals that her birthday is the next day, so friends have been sending presents through the mail.
Professor F.’s daughter is usually studying behind her. During a studio session, F. calls for a break and leaves. Seconds later, moving with the stealth of a soviet spy, the girl sits in her mother’s chair. At first, half her head can be seen. Then, after a few moments and evident effort, her entangled feet and arms appear, making circles in the air. Before her mother returns, the girl is back in her own chair, as if nothing had happened.