The New Indian Express

Art Inspired by COVID-19

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CONTAGION an online exhibition by Bengaluru’s Science Gallery showcases 16 interactive exhibits and over 40 live programmes.

Room 911 of Hong Kong’s Metropole Hotel came to the spotlight during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. This room was where a doctor from Guangdong, China with respiratory problems checked into in February 2003 and unintentionally infected 16 other people on the same floor of the hotel. As they checked out, the guests took SARS across the world.

A still from A Cluster of 17 Cases (2021) by Blast Theory. Image courtesy of artist
A still from A Cluster of 17 Cases (2021) by Blast Theory. Image courtesy of artist

This event has been fictionalised in the 1:50 aluminum scale model of the hotel floor where she stayed by Matt Adams of Blast Theory in the interactive website ‘A Cluster Of 17 Cases’. This is one of the interactive exhibits at CONTAGION, a 45-day exhibition at Science Academy, Bengaluru in collaboration with Robert Koch Institute, the Indian National and DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance.

The coronavirus induced pandemic has been the muse for the art world in the last 12 plus months. Challenge Crisis with Creativity at Gage Gallery Arts Collective in June 2020 and Contagious Cities, a project coordinated by Wellcome in 2018 have exhibited how a pandemic can impact lives in the past.

Matt-Adams from Blast Theory
Matt-Adams from Blast Theory

In 2018, Blast Theory were Artists in Residence at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva over a three-month period where they conducted various interviews with epidemiologists and studied the outbreak of 2003. ‘A Cluster Of 17 Cases’ was created for Wellcome as part of their Contagious Cities programme. The original artwork is a physical model of the ninth floor of Metropole Hotel that has been turned completely digital for CONTAGION. The entire experience as a part of the virtual exhibit has been shot using mini cameras inside the original model itself.

Read the full story that first appeared in The New Indian Express dated June 13, 2021 here:

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