A&SM#4.5 2020

Welcome to Affect & Social Media#4.5 and The Sensorium Art Show

Media Virality and the Lockdown Aesthetic

still from Miasma, 2020

I’m delighted to be taking part in this year’s A&SM#4.5 conference. A full programme of links to pre-recorded videos, short position papers, artworks, performances, presentations, book launches, and online discussion groups, and so on… will be released throughout a two-day period from 16th July 2020 from Dr Tony D. Sampson’s Viral Contaigon blog. The programme and list of contributors can be found here.

My contribution is a new video work called Miasma, inspired by the poisonous, stinking night vapour thought (from the middle ages up to the nineteenth century) to carry bubonic plague and other such infections.

This video was shot under lockdown conditions from a house and garden in suburban Tottenham. It is eerily quiet, a strange vapour emanates from defunct TV relay transmitters and lampposts as night falls. Data travels through a tangle of cables into the ‘cloud’ whilst slime slips down screens and crystals are found in a primordial garden. A twenty-first century plague doctor dressed in Amazon sourced PPE stuffs her mask with a nosegay of Hydroxychloroquine to ward against poisonous data clouds to a soundtrack of ASMR squelches, whispers and clicks.

I suggest in this work that miasma theory might be useful to help frame media more materially, bust cloud myths and connect trashy memes with mineral extraction and species extinction. It also implies that however advanced we think we might be, the ‘new magic’ of today’s tech means ‘we have never been modern’.

I’ll post the final piece on here after it ‘debuts’ next week! If previous Affect & Social Media events are anything to go by it will be an excellent and enlightening couple of days.

About sophiebbarr

I am an artist and a teacher in higher education. For me art is a re-organisation of stuff that's already in the world.
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